Difficult labor contract grievances are often referred to arbitration even though both labor and management representatives might prefer a negotiated settlement. For many of these cases grievance mediation offers a better alternative to the high cost and uncertainty inherent in arbitration. With grievance mediation, parties are able to utilize the dispute resolution skills of an expert mediator while working toward a negotiated settlement.
National studies have found grievance mediation to be successful in approximately 85 percent of cases. This translates into significant cost savings in arbitrator and advocate fees, transcript preparation, witness expenses, as well as pre-hearing preparation time and post-hearing brief writing. Just as importantly, a mediated solution reached with concurrence of the other party is one both parties know is acceptable.
The State Conciliation Service offers the services of professional mediators thoroughly familiar with labor relations in theOregon public sector to mediate contract grievances. State mediators began their careers at the Employment Relations Board following long and successful tenures in other aspects of labor relations. They employ a variety of dispute resolution techniques appropriate to the needs of the case. Their experience helps the parties better judge the risks of proceeding to grievance arbitration and the advantages of settling.
Grievance mediation services for State of Oregon agencies and bargaining units are funded through interagency assessments. Grievance mediation for local government agencies and bargaining units are provided through a fee of $250 per day from each party. The fee covers as many grievances as can be handled in a single day.
To obtain grievance mediation services, parties should send a joint written request to the State Conciliator. Sessions are scheduled as soon as possible.