What is the MSRB?
OSSTF/FEESO’s Mediation Services Resource Bank (MSRB) provides dispute resolution services to members who are in professional conflict with other members. It consists of mediators who live and work across the province. All are Federation members with extensive training and experience in mediation and conflict resolution. In order to preserve confidentiality, mediators are usually assigned from outside the geographic area of the disputants. Services are provided in English and French, as required.
Accessing the MSRB
When a District or Bargaining Unit president believes that the MSRB may assist in resolving a dispute between members, he or she will make a formal request for mediation from their assigned provincial field secretary. Before submitting a request, the leader will ensure that the disputants enter the process voluntarily and that they enter mediation with the intent of resolving the issue. Mediations will take place at a mutually agreeable time and place. All proceedings are confidential.
What type of situation is appropriate for mediation?
The MSRB will work with OSSTF/FEESO members who are in conflict in the workplace. It may just be two members, or it may be a larger group. The MSRB will mediate conflicts between members of different work classes, but will not get involved with disputes between members and management. Mediation is not appropriate if any of the participants feel coerced or if the dispute is a matter of a grievance or any legal investigation (Judicial Council, Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario Labour Relations Board, or criminal or civil action, employer harassment investigation)
What to expect
Once the members in dispute have agreed to mediation and a formal request has been approved, the members can expect to be to be contacted by the assigned mediator. The mediator will explore the issues in depth with each member individually. The mediator will then propose a time and place for a face-to-face meeting. At the meeting, the mediator will establish ground rules and ensure respectful dialogue. The goal is for the disputants is to generate a mutually agreeable resolution.
Is there a charge for using the MSRB?
The Provincial Office will pay for the release and travel expenses of all mediators assigned to case. It is the responsibility of the local District or Bargaining Unit to secure a neutral location suitable for the mediation and to arrange for any required release of the participants. The mediator will work with the local leader who requested the mediation to see that these arrangements are made.
Why does OSSTF/FEESO have a MSRB?
Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process that helps our members overcome disputes in the workplace and allows them to work in a peaceful and productive environment. For over fifteen years our mediators have worked with hundreds of members to come to successful resolutions, avoiding prolonged conflict and employer interference.
I’m interested in the MSRB. Can I join?
The MSRB has a set number of mediators. In the event of a vacancy, postings are made in our monthly newsletter Update. Successful candidates usually have some experience with mediation and/or restorative practices. Members interested in pursuing a position on the MSRB should consider taking courses or workshops in order to acquire some level of skill before applying. Many employers offer such training and many private and public organizations offer such courses as well. For more information, contact Randy Banderob at the Provincial Office.