The headline in the Halifax Daily News blares: “Union Agrees to Binding Mediation”.  Given that mediation isn’t binding unless the parties come to an agreement during mediation, I was curious to see if we had yet another reporter without a clue or was it more?

After reading the article, I couldn’t tell who was doing what.  It seems that a health care workers strike was ended after they agreed to return to the negotiating table with a mediator present and assisting.  If the parties could not reach an agreement in mediation, the mediator would then become an arbitrator and decide between the two proposals submitted by the parties.  It would only be the arbitrator’s decision that would be binding.

This is an example of a med-arb.  The arbitration would be a “last best offer” or “baseball” arbitration.  It is called that because that’s how major league baseball does its salary arbitration with its players.  The object here is that the arbitrator cannot choose anything other than one of the two proposals, thus incentivizing the size to make fair proposals.