STATE OF MAINE                                          MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD                     
                                                        Case No. 78-10

                 Complainant  )
  vs                          )                     DECISION AND ORDER
                 Respondent   )

     This case comes to the Maine Labor Relations Board by way of a Prohibited Prac-
tice Complaint dated September 20, 1977, and filed by Roger Kelley, Northern Maine
UniServ Director and representative of MSAD #45 Teachers Association, on September
26, 1977.  The Response to the Prohibited Practice Complaint and a Motion to Dismiss
was dated October 17, 1977, and filed by F. Paul Frinsko, Attorney for MSAD #45
Board of Directors, on October 18, 1977.
     A pre-hearing conference was held in this matter on Tuesday, November 14, 1977,
at 11:00 a.m. in the Bureau of Labor Conference Room, Augusta, Maine, with Alternate
Chairman Donald W. Webber presiding.  As a result of that pre-hearing conference, a               
Pre-hearing Conference Memorandum and Order was issued by Mr. Webber on December 23,
1977, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
     Neither party has challenged the jurisdiction of the Maine Labor Relations Board
in this matter and we conclude that the Board has jurisdiction to hear and render a
decision in this case as provided by 26 M.R.S.A. Section 968(5).
                                FINDINGS OF FACT             
     As a result of the pleadings and the Pre-hearing Conference Memorandum and Order,
the Board finds that:
     1.  At all times material herein, the Complainant and the Respondent
         were parties to a collective bargaining agreement.
     2.  Article III of the collective bargaining agreement sets forth a
         procedure to resolve disputes with respect to the meaning or
         application of the terms of said collective bargaining agreement,
         which procedure culminates in a final and binding determination
         by an arbitrator.
     3.  Neither the Complainant, the Respondent nor Timothy Humphrey has
         filed a grievance pursuant to Article III of said agreement with
         respect to the matters contained in the prohibited practice complaint.
     4.  A determination by an arbitrator with regard to the appropriate
         interpretation of the provisions of Article X(A)(5) of the
         collective bargaining agreement could be dispostive of the merits
         of the question presented by the complaint in this matter.
     The Maine Labor Relations Board encourages parties to negotiate and pursue
the resolution of disputes through the procedures negotiated by the parties.
See Tri-Town #22 Teachers Association et al. v. SAD #22 (Case 75-28).  In the pend-
ing case, the parties have negotiated a collective bargaining agreement which con-
tains a grievance arbitration provision culminating in final and binding arbitra-
tion.  A resolution of the contractual dispute is likely to resolve the prohibited
practice complaint and we believe that this case is an appropriate case to defer
to the arbitration process until either the arbitration process has concluded or
until it is apparent that delay in the grievance and arbitration process would
substantially deny the rights guaranteed the Complainant.
     Without deciding the merits of this case, we conclude that the purpose of the
Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Act will best be effectuated by retain-
ing jurisdiction over this case and will defer to the arbitration process consistent
with our decision in Bangor Education Association v Bangor School Committee
(Case 76-11).
     Pursuant to the foregoing Findings of Fact and the authority conferred on
the Maine Labor Relations Board under Section 968 of the Municipal Public Employees
Labor Relations Act and without deciding the merits of this case, it is hereby
     1.  That this case be deferred to the arbitration process unless
         notified by either party in a motion for further consideration
         or by motion of the Board to reopen this case if:
              (a)  the dispute has not, with reasonable promptness,
                   been resolved by settlement in the grievance
                   procedure or submitted promptly to grievance
                   arbitration, or
              (b)  the grievance or arbitration procedures have
                   not been fair and regular or have reached a
                   result repugnant to the purposes of the Municipal
                   Public Employees Labor Relations Act; and
     2.  The parties will furnish a copy of any settlement or decision
         rendered by arbitration or otherwise in this case to the Maine
         Labor Relations Board at its offices in Augusta, Maine, within
         five (5) days from the receipt of such decision, settlement or
         arbitration award; and


     3.  That within thirty (30) days from the date of this Decision
         and Order both parties will notify the Maine Labor Relations
         Board at its offices in Augusta, Maine, of what steps they
         have taken to comply herewith.
Dated at Augusta, Maine, this 24th day of January, 1978.

                                  MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD                     

                                  Walter E. Corey, Chairman

                                  Robert D. Curley, Employer Representative

                                  Michael Schoonjans, Employee Representative