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Labor and Economic Opportunity

MERC Grievance Mediation

Grievance Mediation is an informal dispute resolution process that is confidential and non-binding, unless a voluntary resolution is reached.   MERC's Mediation Division offers grievance mediation services to Union and Management representatives at no cost.   The process uses this agency's experienced staff to assist the parties (and grievant) in exploring possible resolution outcomes to a pending dispute usually involving an alleged contract or workplace violation.  If no resolution is reached, the parties proceed to the next step as if the mediation step did not occur.  

MERC Labor Mediators have an extensive background in contract administration, and have handled numerous grievances matters involving contract and workplace disputes.  As part of the process, the MERC Labor Mediator will review many of the prior documents to determine the outstanding issues in dispute.  Once familiar with key aspects of the case, the MERC Labor Mediator will seek to assist the parties in reaching a satisfactory settlement that will resolve the dispute.  Using separate caucuses, the experienced mediator may share an unbiased perspective on each party's respective position.  This may also include an assessment of the weak points in a case and clarification of the underlying issue(s) in the grievance dispute.  In doing so,  either or both parties may be prompted to view the dispute in a different light and more open to seek resolution in lieu of proceeding to arbitration. Settlement options may include granting the grievance in part or whole, finding an acceptable compromise, or even deciding to withdraw the grievance.  Ultimately settlement of the grievance is solely decided by the parties as the mediator cannot order or force the parties to settle.  The MERC Labor Mediator is there only as a confidential, unbiased person who assists and offers suggestions and recommendations to the parties  with a goal toward reaching voluntary resolution. 

Advantages of using grievance mediation include:

Faster resolutions
One day process (usually)
Less costly than Grievance Arbitration
Less adversarial
Promotes union- management collaboration
Not restricted to contract remedies
90% success rate

To initiate a grievance mediation case, either party can simply go the website MERC e-File system and select the Grievance then Grievance Mediation dispute category and follow the screens.  Alternatively, download and file a Request for Grievance Mediation form and email to merc-mediation@michigan.gov.   Either way, a case will be initiated and a MERC Labor Mediator assigned.  Allow 72 hours for initial processing from when you submit your request.  

For further information, please contact the MERC office at merc-mediation@michigan.gov or by telephone
Detroit Office  313-456‐3534
Lansing Office 517-335‐9142

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