State employee unions are again turning to a hearings board in an unfair labor practices complaint lodged against the 2011 Montana Legislature.

A hearings officer in the case recently submitted clarifications for a recommended order that again goes against the unions. The employee unions on Tuesday asked the state Board of Personnel Appeals to hear the case and reject the recommendation.

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.

Hearings officer Terry Spear says the Legislature is not considered the "public employer" for the purposes of determining labor disputes. He says the board should reject the union complaints.