State Mediation

California State Mediation & Conciliation Service

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


Due to the State’s stay-at-home order for the COVID-19 emergency, no on-site mediation work will be performed until further notice. Some, but not all issues are conducive to videoconference mediation efforts. This can be explored with the assigned mediator, otherwise, casework will be postponed until the SMCS staff is able to travel again. General questions may be sent by email to smcsinfo@perb.ca.gov, by phone to (916) 322-7638. Questions related to mediation requests already in process at SMCS can be directed to the assigned mediators.


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. SMCS also provides mediators for grievance disputes, representation, card check, and agency shop 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 agency shop 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.