Impasse Law & Legal Definition


An impasse occurs when after engaging in good faith negotiation, mediation, factfinding with a mediator and post fact-finding negotiations, the parties are unable to reach an agreement. Various laws and contractual agreements govern impasse procedures to be followed in negotiations, such as labor-management talks. In that situation, some employers have the right to impose their last, best offer. There is no further step in the process requiring mediation or arbitration. 

The following is an example of an impasse procedure:

"Effective immediately, if after mediation, the parties are not able to reach a negotiated settlement, factfinding is now a statutorily mandated step of the impasse process. The fact-finding is conducted by a neutral selected and paid for by the parties. If no settlement is reached through fact-finding, the fact-finding neutral issues a report to the parties. Ten days after the release of that report to the parties, the report is to be made public. The parties are given twenty days after issuance of the fact-finder’s report to reach a settlement. If the parties are not able to reach an agreement within twenty days after receipt of the fact-finder’s report, then super conciliation is a required step. Another neutral is chosen as a super conciliator in an attempt to reach a settlement. If the super conciliator is unable to reach a settlement, a written recommendation must be issued. Ten days after its release to the parties, it is also released to the public."