State Mediation

California State Mediation & Conciliation Service

Providing mediation, arbitration, and other neutral services to California’s labor-management community since 1947.

Currently, SMCS offers in-person mediation to parties, with a mediator conducting the mediation at the parties’ agreed-upon location.  Additionally, videoconference mediation continues to be an available option to parties upon request.  General questions may be sent to or (916) 322-7638.

The core service provided by SMCS’ staff of mediators is mediation of public sector contract disputes. Mediators work with parties in school districts, community colleges, higher education, the State of California, cities, counties, special districts, transit districts, and the trial courts to reach agreements in collective bargaining when the parties are at impasse or pre-impasse. SMCS also provides mediators for grievance disputes, representation, and card check elections. These core services are provided at no cost to the parties.

Public sector employers and unions who need assistance in setting up and conducting representation and decertification elections also turn to SMCS for assistance.

The service maintains a list of qualified private arbitrators and handles requests from labor and management parties for arbitration lists. Upon mutual request by labor and management, for a nominal fee, the Service provides a list of arbitrators with experience in labor relations.