State Mediation

California State Mediation & Conciliation Service

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


Update 3/25/2020: At this time, SMCS is expecting that on-site mediation may have to be deferred through the month of April. New requests continue to be accepted and assigned. To the extent that issues can be clarified or narrowed, teleconference and videoconference options might be available as preliminary steps and may be offered by the mediation staff.

For information, please contact SMCS by email at: smcsinfo@perb.ca.gov, or by telephone and (916) 322-7638.


Due to the exposure risks of the COVID-19 virus, the State Mediation and Conciliation Service has suspended all on-site mediation work through the end of March 2020. Work scheduled during this time is being rescheduled for later dates. Certain types of assignments that may be conducive to resolution through teleconferencing or videoconferencing may still be offered.

Due to the uncertain and far-ranging impacts of this emergency, it is possible that the resumption of on-site work beyond March 31, 2020 could change. This is a dynamic situation. For information about the postponements or scheduling of new work, please contact SMCS by email at: smcsinfo@perb.ca.gov, or by telephone and (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. 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.