Medford teacher strike: the role of the mediator

, Posted: Fri, February 21 2014 at 4:22 PM, Updated: Fri, February 21 2014 at 7:55 PM

Medford, Ore. -- We've only had brief glimpses of what's happening behind closed doors while Medford School District and the Medford Education Association work towards a finalizing a new contract.

But the two sides aren't working alone, they are working to find a solution with the help a mediator.

"The role the mediator has in all conflicts, is we are a neutral 3rd party. We work with both parties to empower them to come up with ideas, options and resolutions," said Brian Graunke of Mediation Works in Medford. He has no connection to the Medford strike.

Graunke from Mediation Works says without a mediator between the two sides, a dispute could last much longer.

"In the scope of a dispute and conflict, it is actually is being addressed and resolved much quicker than some of the other means that are out there."

Mediators like graunke assist and empower those involved in a dispute both through communication and negotiation.

Without that assistance, Graunke says disputes could end up in court.

"They are doing a lot of work to really come up with something that is going to help and heal and move all parties forward after this is closed."

And it's the healing and rebuilding process that can often be the most difficult, even after an agreement is finally reached.

Mediators will often help come up with a back to work plan since a final contract likely won't be signed immediately.

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