Mediation in the News
Mediation and other types of collaborative processes including those in the workplace, appear in the news everyday.A recent search turned up several articles that are representative of the kind of collaborative process or mediation that gets press attention.For example, the Voice of America reported that South African President Thabo Mbeki has been facilitating the negotiations between Zimbabwe’s ruling party and the opposition movement, a role a head of state will often play.Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was reportedly attempting to act as a mediator to obtain the release of 45 hostages from the Columbian Revolutionary Armed Forces.
Other articles report about government programs.Recently the Iowa Attorney General set up a mediation program employing a non-profit mediation service in Iowa to help renegotiate thousands of loans between farmers and home loan mortgage companies which would otherwise end up in foreclosure.
And, in Hawaii, an article appeared in a publication called The Molokai Dispatch reporting about the benefits of divorce mediation.
Workplace mediation, also appears in the news, but not in a way that the employers want to see.Usually, it’s a labor/management contract negotiation that has reached impasse such as the dispute in Oregon between a school district and a teacher’s union where the teachers have requested the assistance of a mediator.
And there are other times, when an organization probably wishes they had turned to mediation sooner when the matter was less visible, such as when parties turn to mediation to settle discrimination charges filed in court.In Zanesville, Ohio, the newspapers are reporting that residents of a neighborhood called Coal Run are charging the city and county with discrimination in their provision of water services and are now turning to a mediator for assistance in settling the suit.
Usually not reported are the hundreds of mediations occurring in the workplace, which have successfully resolved charges of discrimination or some other kind of unfair treatment.When matters are resolved early and to the satisfaction of the parties through mediation, it is not necessarily a newsworthy event.We, in the mediation community, can be proud of our efforts, which keep employers out of the news, make for more productive working relationships and helps workers feel respected and acknowledged.
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