Negotiations through a mediator’s eyes
By Ashley Carrasco / KTVL.COM Medford – The Medford Teachers’ Union and the School District having been utilizing 2 professional mediators throughout the contract negotiation process. Lee Mills has worked in law for 36 years. Recently he has turned his focus to mediation and arbitration. News 10 sat down with Mills who explains, a mediator can not force any parties in a dispute to make a decision. The mediator is the middle person who listens to concerns and finds out how the people involved can narrow down the major issues. I can suggest to you for instance, that why don’t you try this proposal, but it has to come from you, you have to agree, says Mills. A mediator is responsible for looking between the lines and suggesting a compromise both parties might not have thought of before. Mills says, You’ll be surprised in some cases how one issue that the other party think is not that important at all, the other party thinks it’s really important. He continues to say, It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your point of view point, that sometimes it’s you don’t see the forest for the trees. In most cases if two parties can not settle, Mills says they will take the issue to court and let a jury decide the outcome. He says the contract dispute between teachers and the district could have an even bigger consequence. Mills says They’ve either got to come to an agreement or change the people that are negotiating.