Under collective bargaining law, when the parties have reached a point in meeting and negotiating at which differences are so substantial or prolonged that future meetings would be futile, they are said to be at an impasse.

Bargaining law establishes a set of procedures to follow when an impasse exists. The first step in the impasse procedure is mediation.

Mediation is at first voluntary, where either party may request the HLRB (Hawaii Labor Relations Board) to assist in a voluntary resolution [HRS §89-11 (d)(1)].

Mediation later becomes mandatory and HLRB will appoint a mediator to assist the parties ina voluntary resolution of the impasse.