We know you have many questions about our negotiations, impasse,
and the fact-finding process. Read below to learn more:
What does impasse mean?
Impasse means that two parties were unable to reach agreement
through the negotiations process.
What is mediation?
Once a party declares impasse, the Public Employment Relations
Board (PERB) will assign a mediator or mediation team to try and
help the parties come to an agreement. If no agreement is
reached, the mediator will certify impasse and the issue will
move to fact-finding.
How does fact-finding work?
If mediation does not result in agreement, an impartial
three-person fact finding panel will be convened to review the
arguments and proposals from both sides and issue a set of
non-binding recommendations for an agreement. In this case,
the District and the union would each appoint one member to
the fact-finding panel. Then, they mutually agree on a neutral,
independent fact-finding panel chairperson from a list of
qualified labor relations professionals supplied by the state, or
if the parties cannot agree then a neutral chairperson will be
What is involved in the fact-finding hearing?
The fact-finding panel schedules and holds private hearings where
both sides will present their last, best and final offers, along
with data and arguments. The panel members meet in private
to evaluate the positions and the data. Within 30 days of
the hearing, the panel is required to issue a report that
contains findings of fact and non-binding recommendations. Before
the report is made public, the parties have one more chance to
meet in an attempt to reach a tentative agreement. If
agreement is not reached, the union leadership and the District’s
Board of Education vote to accept or reject the fact-finder’s
report. By statute, this process must occur within 10 days from
the date the report is made public.
Is the fact-finder’s recommendation binding on the
The fact finder’s report is advisory only. In
fact-finding, the panel chairperson can make suggestions that are
Can negotiations continue while fact-finding is
The fact-finding process usually involves a series of
back-and-forth discussions or mediation sessions involving the
fact-finding panel chair and both bargaining teams after the
hearing is finished. In some cases, once the parties have heard
all of the facts and have some indication of the fact-finders’
position, an agreement can be reached and the process ends. In
other cases, the parties might agree to resume mediation while
the fact-finder’s report is pending. Sometimes an agreement can
be reached prior to the report being issued. The state collective
bargaining law requires that once the fact-finding report is
issued, the parties must meet at least one more time to see if
they can reach a negotiated settlement based on the report.