Impasse: Frequently Asked Questions
What is impasse, and what happens during that process?
State law contains a mandatory impasse resolution process when both sides cannot reach an agreement in negotiations. Under the law, either one or both of the parties may ask the state to intervene. The FCEA has indicated that it will ask the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to issue a formal declaration of impasse. If the PERB certifies that we are at impasse, it will assign a neutral state mediator from a list approved by the parties. The mediator then facilitates talks between the two sides.
Are the District and FCEA currently at impasse?
After bargaining on May 19, FCEA filed for impasse with the the state agency that oversees public agency negotiations, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), requesting that it assign a neutral mediator.
When both sides cannot reach an agreement in negotiations, state law contains a mandatory impasse resolution process. Under the law, either one or both of the parties may ask the state to intervene.
Both sides held their first mediation session on Tuesday, June 13. The next session is scheduled for Aug. 7.
How does mediation work, and how long will it take?
While the process can vary, in many cases, the mediator might meet with the entire group or separately with the two parties to discuss ideas. The role of the mediator is to help identify where the parties might be willing to compromise. The mediator also can offer suggestions for a settlement. Mediation can last weeks and sometimes months. Talks occur in closed sessions that are not open to the public or employees.
What happens if an agreement is not reached in mediation?
The mediator may certify the parties to fact finding. In fact finding, an impartial three-person fact-finding panel will review both sides’ arguments and proposals and issue a set of non-binding settlement recommendations. The District and the union each appoint one member to the fact-finding panel. They also agree on a third neutral, fact finding member.
What is the job of the fact-finding panel?
The panel schedules private hearings where both sides present their last, best offers. Within 30 days the members are required to issue a report that contains findings of fact and non-binding recommendations.
Before the report is made public, the parties can meet one more time to attempt to reach a tentative agreement. If they do not, then the executive board of the union and the District’s Board of Education vote to accept or reject the fact finder’s report.
Is the fact-finding panel’s recommendation final?
No. The panel’s report is advisory only.
If there is still no agreement, can there be a teacher strike?
Under state law, a strike cannot occur until all steps in the impasse process have been exhausted, so any possible strike would likely be months away. The District is confident we can resolve our differences and reach agreement with FCEA.
Can the District impose its last, best, and final offer if fact finding isn’t successful?
The last, best and final offer is the only unilateral action that the District can impose if a negotiated agreement cannot be reached. In that case, the District would implement the new salary schedule and benefit package. However, the District remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement can soon be reached.