Code Section Group

Food and Agricultural Code - FAC

DIVISION 20. PROCESSORS, STORERS, DEALERS, AND DISTRIBUTORS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS [54001 - 57700]

  ( Division 20 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

CHAPTER 2. Cooperative Bargaining Associations [54401 - 54463]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1967, Ch. 15. )

ARTICLE 3.5. Conciliation [54451 - 54458]
  ( Article 3.5 added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5. )

54451.
  

The department shall order conciliation between any cooperative bargaining association and any processor subject to this chapter if it determines, after receiving a request under the procedure specified in Section 54452, that conciliation will materially assist the parties in negotiating an agreement. Either party may request at any time that conciliation be ordered.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

54451.5.
  

A conciliation service shall be appointed by the department if the parties cannot agree on a conciliator.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 77, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2006.)

54452.
  

The following procedure shall be used upon receipt by the department of a request for conciliation:

(a) The request from one of the parties to the negotiation, referred to as the requesting party, shall be presented on a form prescribed by the department.

(b) The requesting party shall submit, along with the request, the last offer made to the other party, referred to as the responding party, reasons for rejection of the responding party’s last offer, and an indication as to what the requesting party believes would be required to reach an agreement. A copy of the request, as well as any information required pursuant to this subdivision, shall be express mailed to the responding party on the same day that the request is submitted to the department.

(c) On the next business day after receiving the request for conciliation, the department shall notify the responding party that a request for conciliation has been received. The responding party shall be required to respond to the department within three business days after receipt of notification that conciliation has been requested. The response from the responding party shall include the last offer made to the requesting party, reasons for rejection of the requesting party’s last offer, and an indication as to what the responding party believes would be required to reach an agreement. The responding party’s response shall be made on a form prescribed by the department. A copy of the response, as well as any information required pursuant to this subdivision, shall be express mailed to the requesting party on the same day that the response is submitted to the department.

(d) On the same day that the responding party is notified by the department that a request for conciliation has been made, the department shall notify the conciliation service designated by the department pursuant to Section 54451.5 that conciliation may be ordered.

(e) On the date that the department notifies the responding party that a conciliation has been requested, the department may also request additional information from either party and the department shall notify both parties of their right to use a conciliator agreed upon by the parties if the parties notify the department of their agreement before conciliation is ordered.

(f) Both parties have three business days after the date of the request made pursuant to subdivision (e) in which to respond to the request for additional information.

(g) Within three business days after final receipt from the parties of all information requested by the department, the department shall determine whether conciliation shall be conducted.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 145, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2004.)

54453.
  

(a) If conciliation is ordered, the department shall, on the day the department determines that conciliation shall be conducted, notify both parties that the conciliation will take place and direct the conciliator agreed to by the parties to commence the conciliation process in accordance with its commercial mediation rules. If the parties have not agreed upon a conciliator, the department shall appoint the conciliation service designated by the department pursuant to Section 54451.5, and direct that conciliation service to commence the conciliation process in accordance with its commercial mediation rules. However, this article prevails if there is any conflict between those rules and this article.

(b) Confidential information disclosed to a conciliator by the parties or by any other person in the course of the conciliation shall not be divulged by the conciliator. All statements, oral or written, records, reports, or other documents received or made by a conciliator while serving in that capacity, or by any other person, shall be confidential. The conciliator shall not be compelled to divulge the information or to testify in regard to the conciliation in any proceeding or judicial forum. The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the conciliation, and shall not rely on, or introduce as evidence in any proceeding or forum, any of the following:

(1) Views expressed or suggestions made by any party in the course of conciliation proceedings with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute.

(2) Admissions by any party in the course of conciliation proceedings.

(3) Proposals made or views expressed by the conciliator.

(4) The fact that any party in the course of conciliation proceedings had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement made by the conciliator or other party.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 145, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2004.)

54454.
  

The conciliator shall perform the following duties:

(a) Meet with the parties involved in the bargaining process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

(b) Participate in negotiations and have authority to offer suggestions and recommendations to resolve the dispute.

(c) The total time allotted for conciliation shall not exceed 10 calendar days unless the conciliator feels that an additional period of five calendar days is likely to resolve the dispute. The determination of the conciliator on whether to extend the period of conciliation shall be based on the progress of negotiations during the conciliation process, the impact of a time delay on the parties, and other relevant factors.

(d) If a settlement has not been arrived at through the conciliation process, upon the conclusion of the process and within the time requirements of subdivision (c), the conciliator shall make a final recommendation to the parties as to what he or she believes will equitably resolve the dispute and result in a negotiated settlement. Each party shall be required to respond to the other party, and to the conciliator with their position and response to the conciliator’s final recommendations.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

54455.
  

If the dispute has not been resolved by the completion of the conciliation process, the conciliator shall file a final report with the department within three business days after the close of conciliation. The report shall include only the following:

(a) A factual summary of the events that occurred during conciliation, including all of the following:

(1) The dates on which conciliation occurred.

(2) The amount of time expended in conciliation on each of those dates.

(3) The location of the conciliation on each of those dates.

(4) The names of the individuals present during conciliation on each of those dates.

(b) The final proposals of each of the parties.

(c) The response, as expressed by each party, to the other party’s final proposal.

(d) A description of the remaining unresolved issues, as expressed by each party.

(e) A copy of the original request and response specified in Section 54452.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

54456.
  

All reasonable costs incurred in carrying out the conciliation prescribed in this article shall be shared equally by each party to the negotiations.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

54457.
  

(a) In the report submitted to the Legislature pursuant to Section 54441, the department shall include a section on this article, which shall consist of the following items:

(1) The number of requests for conciliation.

(2) The number of conciliation cases handled.

(3) The number of conciliation cases reaching settlement through the process prescribed by this article.

(4) The parties involved in conciliation.

(5) Recommended changes to this article that would improve its effectiveness.

(b) The report shall not include any information otherwise confidential pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 54453.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

54458.
  

Any person who violates any provision of this article is liable civilly for a penalty in an amount not to exceed the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each and every violation.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 510, Sec. 5.)

FACFood and Agricultural Code - FAC3.5