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Collective Bargaining Mediation

 


When a public agency and a certified employee organization fail to agree to a collective bargaining agreement after 150 days of bargaining, the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA), per ORS 243.712, allows either party to submit a list of unresolved issues to the State Conciliator. The State Conciliator assigns a mediator to assist the parties in the bargaining process.
 
State mediators are experienced labor relations professionals who help the parties work on resolving their differences. Mediation provides both parties opportunities to informally and creatively explore  settlement options. Although mediators cannot impose a settlement, their ability to articulate mutual interests and needs often facilitates a settlement. Information that is provided to mediators is confidential.
 
If no agreement is reached in mediation, the PECBA provides for contract resolution through binding interest arbitration for strike-prohibited bargaining units (e.g. police, fire, 9-1-1, correctional facility employees, parole and probation, transit or bus system employees, and deputy district attorneys). All other public organizations and unions ("strike permitted" bargaining units) have the option of jointly agreeing to factfinding or proceeding with a declaration of impasse, final offer - cost summary process. If, after this process, parties do not reach agreement, the public agency may implement its final offer and the labor organization may strike.
 
The State Conciliation Service continues to assist the parties in reaching a final agreement at all times prior to interest arbitration, impasse, implementation, or strike. Over ninety percent (90%) of PECBA contract negotiation cases referred to mediation are settled prior to interest arbitration or strike. Less than 1% of these cases result in strike. Where a strike does occur, ERB continues mediations until a resolution is achieved.
 
Mid-Term Bargaining Mediation
 
During mid-term bargaining, optional mediation services are available within the 90-day period provided in the PECBA. Parties are encouraged to schedule mediation in advance to ensure enough time to achieve a mediated settlement within the 90-day window. ORS 243.698. 
 
Fees For Collective Bargaining Mediation Services
 
Mediation services for State of Oregon agencies and bargaining units are funded through interagency assessments, so there is no direct fee. The costs of collective bargaining mediation for local governments and bargaining units are typically borne equally by the employer and by the labor organization.  The fees for these mediations:  
​$1,000 for the first two mediation sessions ($500 per party);
​$500 for the third mediation session ($250 per party);
​$750 for the fourth mediation session ($375 per party);
​$1,000 for each additional mediation session ($500 per party).