The Montana Department of Labor says a hearings board is delaying its decision in an unfair labor practices complaint from state employee unions.
The employee unions argue the Legislature unfairly abandoned the collective bargaining process. The Legislature counters that it was under no obligation to simply ratify a pay increase negotiated by the governor and the unions.
The Board of Personnel Appeals took oral arguments Thursday as it weighs a recommended decision rejecting the unions' complaint.
The Montana Department of Labor says the board sent the case back to the hearings officer. The panel says it wants greater clarification on whether the Legislature should be considered the employer in the case.
The deal scuttled by lawmakers called for state employees to get a 4 percent pay raise over two years.