After a mediation request is received, a staff mediator is assigned and will contact the parties to set a date for an initial meeting.
Parties may request a particular staff mediator. However, the request must be jointly made and the requested mediator may not be available at the time of the request.
Each PERC mediator has his or her own “style” of mediation. However, many aspects of a mediation will be similar. The parties to a mediation can generally expect the following:
The mediation usually opens in a joint session (with both parties) to discuss the process, roles of the parties, clarify the issues, and answer any questions. On occasion, the mediator will determine it is best to do this separately.
During the course of the mediation, the mediator will determine whether to meet with the parties in joint sessions, caucuses, or a combination of joint sessions and caucuses. If parties are in a joint session, they may request to caucus (without the other party present) with their individual team at any time. Other possibilities during the mediation include:
- Meeting separately with one of the representatives
- Having a side conversation with both representatives
- Meeting with a smaller group or subcommittee
- Telephone and e-mail conversations between sessions
Expectations of the parties
- To reach resolution, it is important for parties to keep an open mind and focus on looking forward, not back.
- It is helpful for parties to be open and honest with themselves and the mediator about what they need and their interests behind their needs. This helps the mediator assess mutual interests and work with the parties to resolve the issues.
- Mediation is a process of compromise. Parties should not expect to get all of what they want, but hopefully something they can accept and live with.
What you can expect from the mediator
- The mediator’s focus is on helping you find a solution to your conflict.
- Mediators do not advocate for the union or the employer. The mediator’s job is to facilitate the process, serve as a sounding board, and help the parties find a resolution that will address their needs.
- Mediators ask a lot of questions, some will be challenging and are designed to test the parties’ assumptions. These questions are intended to deepen the mediator’s understanding of the issues. Expect both sides to be challenged equally.