The National Labor Relations Board wants to see more workers and employers use its in-house alternative dispute resolution. Time will tell if its new pilot program will persuade more parties into it, however.
The NLRB on July 10 announced the launch of a pilot program that will have the board taking a proactive approach to evaluating disputes and encouraging more parties to participate in its ADR services. Under the program, the board’s Office of the Executive Secretary will reach out to parties that have cases pending before the board and assess whether those cases might be well served by its mediation process. Even if the NLRB’s in-house mediation offers quicker, cheaper resolution for charges, parties have been historically reluctant to use it.
The NLRB has offered voluntary mediation services for unfair labor charges and compliance cases since 2005, and unlike private ADR providers, it doesn’t charge any fees. The NLRB’s ADR program uses mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service or has those cases mediated by the NLRB’s ADR program director. The board says about 60 percent of its mediations have helped parties reach a settlement, all of which received board approval.