Contract mediation usually starts when negotiations between the parties become non-productive or cease altogether. Labor or management may petition the BMS for the services of a mediator. The mediator convenes a meeting to help the parties find a basis for resolving the dispute on terms that are acceptable to both parties. The mediator examines and analyzes positions and interests to ensure that both parties have clear understanding of the issues before them. Attempts are made to identify priorities and focus the parties' effort on problems that must be solved for an agreement. The mediator works to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to idea-sharing and problem-solving.
Grievance mediation is a significant and growing area of BMS services. Mediators assist labor and management in the resolution of disputes over contract interpretation or employee discipline which might otherwise be submitted to arbitration. Resolution of grievance disputes through the mediation process tends to improve the overall climate of labor relations and avoids the financial costs and win/lose outcome of arbitration. With a success rate of over 80%, grievance mediation has resulted in substantial cost and time savings for both management and labor as well as more stable and peaceful relationships.