A mediator’s ADR viewpoint

  • Published
  • By Kelli Anderson
  • Tinker ADR Program Office
The Tinker Alternative Dispute Resolution Program is award winning and has been a benchmark program for the Air Force. Tinker mediators are collateral duty mediators who are highly trained and certified. The advantage of the mediators being a voluntary duty is that they want to be here, they love what they do, and are very passionate in their duty. The advantages the mediators feel the employees have when electing ADR are abundant.

"Clients have a huge advantage when electing ADR," said mediator Capt. Benjamin Weaver, 72nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron. "It gives each party a neutral forum and the chance at resolving an issue in a matter of months compared to the one or more years it takes for most legal proceedings to make it to court, not to mention legal fees, and you still have to work in the same area while waiting for resolution. ADR also lets the two parties sit down and discuss the underlying issues/causes of the primary complaint that would otherwise go unresolved in a legal setting. I firmly believe that the ADR program is greatly beneficial for all parties involved. ADR doesn't always work, but it is a great tool that should be considered before deciding on a full blown legal hearing."

Assumptions and perceptions get in the way when communication is broken down.

"The employee gets a chance to build a better relationship rather than burn a bridge. Even if settlement is not met, a win-win can still be accomplished with better communication and understanding for all parties involved," EO counselor and mediator Rebecca Grayson said.

"I'm very proud to be part of the best ADR Program in the Air Force and probably Department of Defense. I know this to be true because of the feedback I have received from other bases I have conducted mediations at on TDY. The word is out, and Tinker's ADR program is held in high esteem," said Tinker mediator John Esquivel, 72nd Air Base Wing Safety Office. "I still maintain contacts with other ADR professionals throughout the Air Force, and the one constant I always hear, is the respect they have for Tinker's ADR Program, and the quality and professionalism of our mediators."

Tinker mediators exude pride in having the ability and the opportunity to assist our workforce as well as other bases Air Force wide. Mediators are able to reach out from their own organization and assist their Wingman across the base in a neutral forum.

"I am proud to be a small part of a solution. Everyone feels helpless when they have a problem. We empower them with a solution. Supervision and employees are happy when they form their own solutions," Tinker mediator Phillip Plumlee, 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group, said. Tinker mediators are true professionals with empathy for the workforce which can only lead to success.

Often people ask, why should I consider using the Alternative Dispute Resolution option? Our answer is simple. What does using ADR hurt? It does not interfere with your process; if it does not settle you may continue to the next step. Mediation gives you the opportunity to express your concerns face to face with someone from management. Mediating can clear up misconceptions, mend working relationships and alleviate the stress you are feeling from your issues quicker than waiting for the process to run its course. Plus, ADR is confidential. Keep this in mind when selecting a process for your complaint.

If you have questions about the ADR process, call the office at 736-2151 or visit post 1AD83A in Bldg. 3001.