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), 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 allows both parties opportunities to informally and creatively explore numerous settlement options. Although mediators cannot impose a settlement, their ability to articulate mutual interests and needs often facilitates a settlement. Information provided to mediators is confidential.
Where no agreement is reached in mediation, the PECBA provides for contract resolution through binding interest arbitration for strike-prohibited public safety bargaining units such as police, fire, 911, and correctional facility bargaining units. All other public organizations and unions (the strike permitted bargaining units) have the option of jointly agreeing to factfinding or proceeding with the impasse/final offer process. At the end of the process, if these 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 accord at all times prior to interest arbitration, impasse, implementation and strike. Seventy-seven percent (77%) 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 occurs, mediation continues 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. The fees for collective bargaining mediation for local governments and bargaining units are borne equally by the employer and labor organization and are:
- $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 sessions ($375 per party); and
- $1,000 for each additional mediation session ($500 per party).