Tips for Searching

Search Basics

Enter the search term and press go. If you want to search for a phrase, enter the phrase surrounded by double quotes. If you want to find decisions in which a particular case is cited, the easiest way is to search for the case number, such as 82-A-02 or 04-03.

The radio buttons on the search screen make it a simple matter to limit your search to either PPC cases or unit cases. The first case on the query result list will be the one in which the term or phrase is found most frequently, followed by the next most frequent and so on. You will always be able to see the search term you used at the top of the results page. If you need to refine it further, hit the back button and make changes to the term or terms you used or just start over.

Although it is a bit more complex, we have also put together information on how to search by employer or union name. This type of search would limit the results to the union or employer involved in the particular case, and would not bring up decisions that simply cited other cases involving that party. That page also describes our imperfect but still useful way of searching for cases filed during a particular time period.

Hypertext Links

A very helpful feature of our database is the inclusion of hypertext links for cites to decisions on our database. A link is indicated when the citation is highlighted or underlined on your screen. When we edit a file to add the HTML code creating the hypertext links, we add the code for all citations to MLRB decisions and MLRB decisions on appeal, even if that decision is not yet on our database. The bottom line is that you may be reading a decision that has a citation in it that appears to be a link (i.e., it is underlined) but when you click on it, nothing happens or you get a HTTP 404 File Not Found error, or it jumps back to the State of Maine Homepage. Alas, this is because the destination of the link does not yet exist as a file. If you need it, call us and we will send you a hard copy of the decision.

Format of Cases

The MLRB database includes Board decisions and any decision issued by the Superior Court or the Law Court if the case was appealed. A Court's decision on appeal will come up as a separate entry or file. At the top of the first page of each decision is a case history that includes hypertext links to that decision on appeal or below. If the Board decision was not appealed, there will be no case history added at the top. In representation cases, the hearing examiner's report is a separate file.

All Board Decisions or Orders are within one file; that is, if there is an interim order and a final decision or a decision on remand, they will all be within the same file. We have done this so that the filenames are always the same as the case number. We have consistently used the case number, such as 82-02 as the basis of the filename, 82-02.htm. We have done this for the Superior Court decisions as well, using the format CV-93-102.htm. The format for Law Court decisions prior to 1997 is 655A2d123.htm -- note that there are no spaces and no periods. For subsequent Law Court decisions, we use the new official cite form of 1997ME17.htm - also note that there are no spaces.

Board decisions are light yellow, Superior Court decisions are light green, Law Court decisions are light blue, and Examiner/Executive Director decisions are light orange.

Contents of Database

The cases in this web site have been divided into two subdirectories, one containing Prohibited Practices Cases (PPC's) and the other containing Unit Representation matters. This was done to permit you to limit your searches to one category or the other by using the radio button option on the search screen. If you want to see a simple list of cases included in the database (filenames only, no case titles), click on Index of PPC cases or Index of Representation cases.

Getting all of the MLRB decisions into a format suitable for this web site is a rather time-consuming process. We now have all PPC cases from 1977 to date. We will continue to add older representation cases as time permits.

Finding a Particular Case

One way to get directly to a case is to enter the file name for that decision in the appropriate spot of the URL. As you can see from looking at the URL indicator on your browser, this particular page is located at:

The MLRB decisions are located within one of two directories, either mlrb/decisions/ppc for Prohibited Practice Complaint decisions or mlrb/decisions/rep for unit matters. The file name of a decision is its case number or citation but without any spaces or periods. Thus, the URL for the two cases mentioned above are:

Sometimes it is even easier to go to the computer's list of cases in the PPC directory or in the REP directory and then just scroll down and click on the case number you need. Just remember that the filename is essentially the same as the case number or legal case citation.

You can get this list by going to or Take a look: Index of PPC Cases or Index of Unit Representation Cases.

If you don't find a case you are looking for, it may be too old to have made it on to the database of cases, or you may have made an error in typing or format.

Cases Citing a Particular Case

If you want to see cases that cite a particular case, enter that case citation (e.g. 83-06) as your query term. The first hit will be the decision that uses the term 83-06 the most frequently. (Unfortunately, the search engine does not consider Id. as another hit.)


As noted previously, there may be some files in this database that are not entirely accurate because of problems scanning old documents. Please notify us if you come across any apparent errors.

Until this project is finally completed, there may be hypertext links in a decision that do not function. This is because the decision being cited (and therefore linked to) has not been added to our database. This will eventually be resolved. If you come across any incorrect links, please notify us.

Please send an e-mail or give us a call at 287-2015 if you spot errors in any files or have any questions.