How long should contract negotiations last?

There is not an exact amount of time that contract bargaining should take. The time it takes to bargain can be influenced by several things, including budgetary restraints, the relationship between the parties, and the amount of language in discussion. These issues influence the length of bargaining, with some negotiations finishing in a few weeks, while others taking months.

The basic timeline for labor negotiations is provided by statute, which establishes 150 days to exchange proposals. If both parties agree, this period may be shortened or extended. The timeline starts only after initial proposals have been exchanged in writing. Either party may ask for a state-appointed mediator at the end of this period. The parties are required to spend a minimum 15 days in mediation. Impasse can be declared by either party after the minimum 15 days has passed. Each party must then file its final offer with the mediator, along with a cost summary of the offer. The final offer and cost summary are made public. Thirty days after the final offer and cost summary are made public, the district can implement its final offer, or the employees can strike.

See our contract Negotiations Flowchart for more information.

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