(1) If an agreement has not been reached following a reasonable period of negotiations and, when applicable, mediation, upon the recommendation of the assigned mediator that the parties remain at impasse or, with respect to biennial bargaining, in compliance with the interest arbitration agreement under RCW 47.64.170
(6)(a), all impasse items shall be submitted to arbitration under this section. The issues for arbitration shall be limited to the issues certified by the executive director.
(2) The parties may agree to submit the dispute to a single arbitrator, whose authority and duties shall be the same as those of an arbitration panel. If the parties cannot agree on the arbitrator within five working days, the selection shall be made under subsection (3) of this section, except with respect to biennial bargaining described under RCW 47.64.170
(6). The full costs of arbitration under this section shall be shared equally by the parties to the dispute.
(3) Within seven days following the issuance of the determination of the executive director, each party shall, absent an agreement to the contrary, name one person to serve as its arbitrator on the arbitration panel. Except with respect to biennial bargaining described under RCW 47.64.170
(6), the two members so appointed shall meet within seven days following the appointment of the later appointed member to attempt to choose a third member to act as the neutral chair of the arbitration panel. Upon the failure of the arbitrators to select a neutral chair within seven days, either party may apply to the federal mediation and conciliation service, or, with the consent of the parties, the American arbitration association to provide a list of five qualified arbitrators from which the neutral chair shall be chosen. Each party shall pay the fees and expenses of its arbitrator, and the fees and expenses of the neutral chair shall be shared equally between the parties.
(4) In consultation with the parties, the arbitrator or arbitration panel shall promptly establish a date, time, and place for a hearing and shall provide reasonable notice thereof to the parties to the dispute. The parties shall exchange final positions in writing, with copies to the arbitrator or arbitration panel, with respect to every issue to be arbitrated, on a date mutually agreed upon, but in no event later than ten working days before the date set for hearing. A hearing, which shall be informal, shall be held, and each party shall have the opportunity to present evidence and make argument. No member of the arbitration panel may present the case for a party to the proceedings. The rules of evidence prevailing in judicial proceedings may be considered, but are not binding, and any oral testimony or documentary evidence or other data deemed relevant by the chair of the arbitration panel may be received in evidence. A recording of the proceedings shall be taken. The arbitration panel has the power to administer oaths, require the attendance of witnesses, and require the production of such books, papers, contracts, agreements, and documents as may be deemed by the panel to be material to a just determination of the issues in dispute. If any person refuses to obey a subpoena issued by the arbitration panel, or refuses to be sworn or to make an affirmation to testify, or any witness, party, or attorney for a party is guilty of any contempt while in attendance at any hearing held hereunder, the arbitration panel may invoke the jurisdiction of the superior court in the county where the labor dispute exists, and the court has jurisdiction to issue an appropriate order. Any failure to obey the order may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
(5) The neutral chair shall consult with the other members of the arbitration panel, if a panel has been created. Within thirty days following the conclusion of the hearing, or sooner as the October 1st deadline set forth in RCW 47.64.170
(6)(c) and (7) necessitates, the neutral chair shall make written findings of fact and a written determination of the issues in dispute, based on the evidence presented. A copy thereof shall be served on each of the other members of the arbitration panel, and on each of the parties to the dispute. That determination is final and binding upon both parties, subject to review by the superior court upon the application of either party solely upon the question of whether the decision of the panel was arbitrary or capricious.