It is the policy of OCB to encourage voluntary resolution of disputes between the parties. To this end, the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution oversees the agency's efforts to encourage the parties to mediate their disputes. Since its inception in 1967, the Office of Collective Bargaining has provided mediation services to the City of New York and the municipal labor unions. Upon request, the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution, OCB hearing officers, and panel arbitrators are available to provide the parties with assistance to resolve or settle collective bargaining disputes, improper practice claims, grievances, and representation matters. Either the City or a union representing municipal employees may request formal mediation of contract disputes. (Forms)
How do I ask for mediation?
If you wish to request mediation of a contract dispute, complete OCB's mediation request form and submit it to the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution. Requests for mediation also can be made by contacting the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution at (212) 306-7160. Before making any request for mediation, it is advisable to contact your adversary. Both parties must desire to resolve the dispute through mediation for the process to succeed.
When is it appropriate to ask for mediation?
Mediation requests can be made any time a party believes there is potential for resolution of a matter without litigation. Mediation can often result in a mutually satisfactory resolution which may not be possible through litigation.
Mediation of Improper Practice Issues
Soon after improper practice petitions are filed, OCB staff attempt to identify those petitions which may be appropriate for mediation and will ask the parties to consider mediation. At any time during the processing of an improper practice petition, the parties may request mediation from the hearing officer or the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution.
Mediation of Grievances
The Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution assists the parties in resolving issues which arise under their collective bargaining agreements. Mediation of contractual grievances may be requested prior to the designation of an arbitrator or any time prior to the issuance of an arbitrator's award. In addition, a party may inquire whether the designated arbitrator is available to mediate the dispute.
The parties may also request mediation when they are having difficulties reaching agreement on the terms of their collective bargaining agreement. Mediation during the negotiation process can often help the parties to reach agreement on specific terms and/or clarify unresolved issues. This request can be made informally by contacting the Deputy Director for Dispute Resolution, or formally by completing and filing a Request for Mediation form.
Does the mediation process delay the processing of the case?
Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, OCB will provide mediation services without delaying the normal processing of the improper practice petitions, grievances, or representation petitions. All customary time periods for pleadings under OCB's Rules remain in effect while the mediation process is ongoing. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, a party seeking an extension of those deadlines must request additional time.