Stephanie Ostrowski Oct. 24, 2012, 8:09pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Parties who participate in the Board's alternative dispute resolution will have the opportunity to meet with a contracted mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the National Labor Relations Board announced Tuesday.

ADR has provided parties with mediators to aid them in settling unfair labor practice cases pending before the Board since 2005. A Board approved settlement has been reached in 60 percent of the cases.

Before this agreement between the Board and FMCS, Administrative Law Judges were primarily used as mediators. This new contract will bring new resources to the already successful program by allowing parties to use an experienced mediator.

Participation in the ARD program is voluntary. Any party who enters into a settlement discussion through the program may withdraw at any time. There is no fee. Most cases may not be in the program longer than 30 days, and are not allowed longer than 60 days.

This program was established by the Board after other federal agencies and federal courts, and the NLRB at the trial level, experienced such success. Approximately 90 percent of NLRB cases are settled, at some point in the process, by agreement whether at the regional office, before or during trial with an Administrative Law Judge, or while the case is pending before the Board.

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