Dear ACEA member,
Many of you may be wondering how fact-finding works. The following passages are from the NJEA Collective Bargaining Manual and provide details about the fact-finding process. If fact-finding does not lead to a settlement, then we move to the last step, super conciliation. Hopefully, this information will clarify the process as we move forward with negotiations.
ACEA Negotiations Team
Fact-Finding: Fact-finding may be invoked when there is a failure to resolve the impasse through the mediation process. The parties are encouraged to mutually agree on the appointment of a fact-finder. The objective of the fact-finder is to develop a settlement which is acceptable to both parties. Therefore, it is imperative that the fact-finder be cognizant of the fact that any agreement must be ratified by both the school board as a whole and the local association’s membership as a whole. Fact-finding, although advisory in nature, has proved to be helpful in resolving negotiation impasses especially when the political needs of one or both parties must be accommodated. In this process each team presents its case to a neutral third party, or fact-finder. The fact-finder shall make “findings of fact” and shall recommend in a report the terms of the settlement as soon as possible after the conclusion of the hearings. The cost of the fact-finder’s services, including per diem and travel expenses, is shared equally by the parties to the dispute. While the fact-finder’s report is not binding on the parties, they must meet after the report is delivered. The fact-finder’s report shall be made available to the parties immediately after its issuance and to the public 10 days later.
Super Conciliation: The 2003 amendment to the PERC Law established a new procedure to be used when the association and the board are still unable to reach an agreement within 20 days after the issuance of the fact-finder’s report. PERC shall appoint a super conciliator to assist the parties. The super conciliator shall promptly schedule investigatory proceedings to:
- investigate and acquire all relevant information regarding the dispute
- discuss the differences with the parties and utilize means and mechanisms, including, but not limited to, requiring 24 hour per day negotiations until a voluntary settlement is reached and provide recommendations to resolve the parties’ differences;
- modify or amend the fact-finder’s report for reconsideration by the parties
- institute any other nonbinding procedures deemed appropriate by the super conciliator.
If there is no resolution of the dispute following these actions the super conciliator shall issue a nonbinding final report which shall be provided to the parties promptly and made available to the public within 10 days.