If, after reviewing the mediator's report, the Director determines that an impasse continues to exist and that further mediation is unlikely to resolve the matter, the DLR notifies the parties of its conclusion and the decision to institute fact-finding.

Selecting a fact-finder

The notification of fact-finding will provide the parties with the names of 7 randomly chosen fact-finders from our fact-finder list.  We ask the parties to return the list within 10 days, striking no more than 3 names, and ranking the remaining names.  After receiving the rankings, we attempt to match the preference of each party.  If a party fails to provide its ranking within 10 days, we assume that all the names on the list are acceptable.


We sent the selected fact-finder an appointment letter, explaining the process and reminding the fact-finder to transmit his/her findings and any recommendations for the resolution of the impasse to the DLR and to both parties within 30 days after the record is closed.

A fact-finder will be disqualified if he/she has represented a party to the case within the last 12 months.


The cost for fact-finding is equally divided between the parties unless they agree otherwise.  The parties must make payment directly to the fact-finder who sets his/her fee directly with the parties.

Fact-finder role

The fact-finder has authority and responsibility for the fact-finding proceedings, and sole discretion in deciding any issues of procedure.  The fact-finder immediately advises the DLR if a work stoppage has occurred or is imminent.  The fact-finder has authority to mediate the dispute.  Fact-finding and mediation are not open to the public.

Hearing and Report

The details of a fact-finder's hearing are described in 456 CMR 21.13.

The details of a fact-finder's report are described in 456 CMR 21.14.  The report remains private while the parties attempt to reach an agreement after receiving the report.  If the impasse remains unresolved after 10 days after DLR's receipt of the report, the DLR makes it public.  

Additional Resources

Post fact-finding mediation

If the parties are unable to reach agreement after the fact-finder issues his/her report, the DLR mediator contacts the parties and schedules additional mediation to assist them in resolving the dispute.  The mediator notifies the Director within 30 days whether any additional mediation is likely to resolve the impasse.  If the Director believes that no additional mediation will resolve the impasse, the mediator no longer works with the parties on impasse.

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