Here are some commonly asked questions about what mediation is and how it works. Our first mediation session is Wednesday, August 8th.

What is mediation?
Mediation is a tool used to resolve disputes between parties with the assistance of a neutral, trained mediator.  Mediation may be demanded by either party after 150 days of bargaining/negotiating.

Who is the mediator?
The mediator is appointed by the Employment Relations Board of Oregon. The mediator selected will be an impartial professional experienced in mediation.

How long does mediation last?
Mediation can last 2-3 sessions taking up to a month; however, mediation never really ends until an agreement is reached (see “When is mediation over?” below). Due to limited schedule availability, our upcoming mediation sessions between Management and the Union are more spread out; sessions are scheduled for August 8th and September 11th, 12th, and 13th.

What happens at mediation?
Mediation is much like bargaining/negotiations: Management and the Union exchange proposals. The difference is that in mediation the two sides do not meet face-to-face. Proposals are shared with the mediator and the mediator presents the proposals to either side. The mediator works to resolve differences and explore settlement options.

When is mediation over?
When an agreement is reached. Impasse may be declared by either party 15 days after the first mediation session, but mediation may continue even after impasse is declared.

What happens if impasse is declared?
Management and the Union will submit their final offers to the mediator within 7 days after declaring impasse. There will be a 30-day cooling off period. The mediator will continue to work with Management and the Union to try to reach an agreement during this period. The Union may seek a strike authorization from members sometime during this period.

What happens after the 30-day cooling off period?
Management and the Union will continue to try to reach an agreement. Management may choose implement their final offer. If approved in a vote by members during the 30-day cooling off period, the Union may strike after giving 10 days’ notice to Management.

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