The mission of the Bureau of Mediation is to assist, when needed, in the collective bargaining process before a strike becomes inevitable, and even after a work stoppage has occurred.
How Mediation Works
Mediators have backgrounds in management or labor and are hired for their knowledge, skills, and experience in collective bargaining.
Mediators maintain strict objectivity, neutrality, and confidentiality while trying to open new avenues to problem solving.
Mediators confer with the parties involved in a dispute, generally first with one party and then with the other. Joint conferences are then called with employer and employee representatives.
Mediators can get stalled negotiations going again and improve the bargaining atmosphere. Mutual discussion, alternative solutions, specific contract clauses, and economic data can be explored.
Mediators also endeavor to permanently improve the bargaining and working relationship between management and labor.
After assisting in an agreement, the mediator often maintains contact with the union and employer to make sure that issues and concerns continue to be addressed in a cooperative manner. If requested by both parties, mediators can also provide advice on specific problems as well as grievance mediation. Early bargaining can be encouraged by a mediator trying to avoid deadline tensions.