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Group Mediation through Internal Mediation Service Additional Information

What is mediation?

Mediation is a carefully designed process that brings people together in conversations, with mediators present, to help them reach a resolution to a dispute. In mediation, “the process” is managed by the mediators; the content and resolution are the responsibility of the parties

What is the IMS?

The IMS is a team of volunteer BCTF members, trained and experienced as mediators, who work with teachers and others to help resolve workplace conflicts.

Who is it for?

Any active BCTF member is eligible to make a request for assistance.

IMS mediators work predominantly in member-to-member situations. However, they also work with small groups to help repair or maintain professional relationships and work through complex issues effectively.

What type of situation does the IMS deal with?

The service can help to resolve a variety of conflict situations including disputes about:

  • respectful professional relations
  • duties, roles, and responsibilities
  • decision making, policies and procedures
  • school culture and climate

What kind of situation is NOT suited to mediation?

Generally mediation is not advisable if there is:

  • unwillingness by one of the parties to participate voluntarily
  • an expectation for the mediators to make decisions
  • an expectation for the mediators to make judgements
  • a high level of concern for personal safety.

When is the service appropriate?

The IMS facilitated processes may be applicable if some of the factors below are evident:

  • a general breakdown in a working relationship
  • communication roadblocks
  • people feeling stressed, fearful, or even sick
  • discouragement and low morale

How do I initiate the process?

  • Both/all parties must complete and send in a pre-mediation form to formally initiate the process.

What happens next?

As soon as both (all) parties have submitted their forms:

  • Two mediators are assigned.
  • The mediators contact the parties to establish a schedule.
  • The mediators interview each individual separately and then meet with both parties together for a carefully structured conversation. The mediators’ role is to ensure a respectful and safe atmosphere in which mutually acceptable resolutions can be explored.

I’m nervous; will I be safe?

Yes.

  • Mediators are trained to ensure that conversations are conducted respectfully and safely for all parties.
  • Participation in mediation is voluntary. Each person, and/or the mediators, have the right to withdraw from the process at any time.
  • Mediators are trained to ensure that situations are not made worse.
  • The Mediation process often helps to reveal balanced and/or shared perspectives that may not have been previously evident.

What about confidentiality?

All aspects of the IMS process are strictly confidential between the participants and the mediators.

  • The mediators report to no one.
  • All participants are expected to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Will it work to make our situation better?

There are no guarantees, however:

  • Usually satisfactory and sustainable resolutions are achieved.
  • Even where the substantive issues remain unresolved, participants are often able to work together more respectfully and comfortably.
  • Mediation often provides a more satisfying and sustainable resolution than other more formal alternatives
  • The mediators do their very best to help participants ease the difficult situations in which they find themselves.

Who pays?

  • TTOC costs for the participants are usually covered by the local.
  • Mediator expenses, including travel, meals, accommodation, and release time are generally covered by the BCTF.

32.06—Procedures of the Internal Mediation Service

  1. Two mediators will be assigned to a particular case. One of the two will act as chairperson.
  2. Mediators appointed to the BCTF Internal Mediation Service will elect a chairperson each year from among the group who will, after consultation with the staff person assigned to the program, screen and assign cases.
  3. The chairperson of the team responsible for the case, in consultation with the staff person assigned to the program, take responsibility for adequate follow-up.
  4. Mediators will not submit reports about the content of cases mediated to anyone.
  5. Records will be kept to an absolute minimum.
  6. Cases may be discussed with members of the mediation group or with appropriate BCTF staff on a privileged communication basis at any time.
  7. In the event that a mediation case develops into an ethics case, no information from the mediators will be requested by the Judicial Council, nor will any be offered.
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