The State Mediation Conciliation Service

The State Mediation & Conciliation Service was established to improve employer-union relations in California. Skilled, impartial SMCS staff mediate labor disputes between employers and employee organizations free of charge. In addition, SMCS provides arbitration, election, and training / facilitation services on a cost reimbursement basis.

Effective July 1, 2012—The State Mediation and Conciliation Service is a division of
the Public Employment Relations Board 

On Thursday, June 28, 2012, a PERB Advisory Committee meeting was held at the headquarters office in Sacramento, located at 1031 18th Street, Sacramento, California. Among the scheduled agenda items were the transfer of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service from the Department of Industrial Relations to PERB. The following questions were considered. 

  1. Do you see any potential problems resulting from the transfer of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service from the Department of Industrial Relations to PERB?  If so, what are the potential areas of concern?  How are they best addressed?
  2. Should there be a firewall between the mediation function and PERB’s adjudicatory functions?  How is this best accomplished?
  3. PERB may consider using mediators to assist with settlement conferences in unfair practice or representation cases, and/or with PERB-conducted elections.  Do you have any concerns about this approach?  What are the advantages/disadvantages of this approach?
  4. We are considering maintaining a common list for arbitrators and fact-finders.  Are there other areas that you can think of that would streamline operations?  Are there areas that you believe must be kept separate?
  5. SMCS currently charges a fee for certain services such as elections, training and facilitation and conflict management work. Should PERB continue this system, modify it, or eliminate fees for service?

The details of the transfer will be worked out over the next six months to a year.  This is an opportunity to take a look at both PERB and SMCS and see how we can better serve our constituents in the labor management community.  We welcome your input on these questions.   You can email your responses to the SMCS mailbox at smcsinfo@perb.ca.gov.