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Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (United States)

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) is an independent agency of the United States government, founded in 1947, which provides mediation services to industry, community and government agencies worldwide. One of its most common tasks is to help to mediate labor disputes around the country. FMCS headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. Its employees include certified mediators.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.jpg
Agency overview
FormedJune 23, 1947
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Employees265 (2011)[1]
Agency executives
  • Rich Giacolone[2], Director
  • Gary Hattal, Deputy Director for Mediation Services and Field Programs


Role under the Taft–Hartley ActEdit

Former Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. (now demolished)

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service was created as an independent agency of the federal government under the terms of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (better known as the Taft–Hartley Act) to replace the United States Conciliation Service that previously operated within the Department of Labor.[3] Under the Taft-Hartely Act, FMCS may offer its services "in any labor dispute in any industry affecting commerce, either upon its own motion or upon the request of one or more of the parties to the dispute, whenever in its judgment such dispute threatens to cause a substantial interruption of commerce."[4] By statute, FMCS receives advance notification any time a party to a collective bargaining agreement intends to terminate or modify the contract upon expiration. No modification or termination of a collective bargaining agreement is permitted unless the party wishing to modify or terminate notifies the other party at least 60 days prior to expiration and, within 30 days after notice to the other party, notifies FMCS and applicable state mediation agencies. For healthcare institutions, the notice times are extended to 90 and 60 days respectively.[5]

Formation and first directorEdit

On August 7, 1947, President of the United States Harry S. Truman appointed Cyrus S. Ching as the first director of the FMCS. As Director of the FMCS, he received $12,000, placing the position at par with the National Labor Relations Board. Ching had been a member of the National War Labor Board until 1943, and had been an employee of the United States Rubber Company since 1919, serving as the firm's director of industrial and public relations in 1929. Ching would take office as of August 22, 1947, the date established in the Taft–Hartley Act for the creation of the FMCS as an independent agency, and would assume the role of the nation's top labor mediator from Edgar L. Warren, who had filled the senior mediation role within the Labor Department.[6] After conferring with the President in August, Ching stated that he would assume his role as director in early September upon the completion of his duties at U.S. Rubber. Ching stated that his role was to settle labor disputes at the level when and where they develop.[7]

Ching was sworn into office on September 5, 1947, with an oath administered by Judge Henry White Edgerton at ceremonies also attended by Howard T. Colvin, who served as acting head from the August 22 creation of the FMCS, as well as other representatives of labor, industry and government.[8]

Mediation rolesEdit

Representatives of the FMCS played a role in negotiations between Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and the Marine and Shipbuilding Workers in a strike that started in June 1947.[9]

Representatives of the FMCS played a role in negotiations between the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association in contract talks in February 2011.[10]

In November 2012, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association agreed to submit their negotiations to the FMCS in an effort to resolve the 2012 NHL lockout.[11]

2013 credit card scandalEdit

In 2013, The Washington Examiner alleged in a series of articles that employees at the agency had made improper purchases such as auto leases and spouses' cellular phones using government credit cards. [12]

In response, the FMCS issued the following statement: "These items which the Examiner is inquiring about appear to have been the subject of a now-settled employment dispute involving a disgruntled FMCS employee. These purchasing issues were addressed in the settlement, but must remain confidential under federal personnel rules, as noted, in the absence of a release from the employee.

"When FMCS became aware of this employee’s concerns about the Agency’s procurement practices, we took immediate actions. These actions included taking steps to ensure that the Agency’s internal processes meet federal regulations. Additionally, we obtained a review by an outside, independent authority regarding FMCS procurements made over a period of years. We conducted a prompt and thorough investigation and a review of our own internal processes. With the settlement of the employment dispute, the conclusion of our own investigation and reviews by outside authorities, the allegations were dropped and outside authorities indicated they would take no further action."[12]

Subsequently, Congressional committee staff in both the House and Senate looked into the allegations that prompted the articles in the Examiner and concluded their inquiries without making any findings against the agency or its employees. Then-FMCS Director George H. Cohen announced his retirement from the agency, effective December 31, 2013, to coincide with his 80th birthday.[13] He was succeeded by then-Deputy-Director Allison Beck, who served as Acting Director, was nominated by President Obama in September 2014 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director in July 2015.[14]


Directors of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (with the date they took office listed and the President who made the appointment shown in parentheses), are as follows:[15]

  1. Cyrus S. Ching (1947; Truman)
  2. David L. Cole (1952; Truman)[16]
  3. Whitney P. McCoy (1953; Eisenhower)
  4. Joseph F. Finnegan (1955; Eisenhower)
  5. William E. Simkin (1961; Kennedy), the longest-serving Director, departing office in 1969
  6. J. Curtis Counts (1970; Nixon)
  7. William Usery, Jr. (1973; Nixon)
  8. James F. Scearce (1976; Ford)
  9. Wayne L. Horvitz (1977; Carter)
  10. Kenneth Moffett (1982; Reagan), served for seven months.
  11. Kay McMurray (1982; Reagan)
  12. Bernard E. DeLury (1990; G. H. W. Bush)
  13. John Calhoun Wells (1993; Clinton)
  14. C. Richard Barnes (1999; Clinton)
  15. Peter J. Hurtgen (2002; G. W. Bush)
  16. Arthur F. Rosenfeld (2006; G. W. Bush)
  17. George H. Cohen (2009; Obama)
  18. Allison Beck (2014; Obama), the first woman to serve as director

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Budget" (PDF). FMCS. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-16.
  2. ^ Office of the Director, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Starks, Louis. "Analysis of the Labor Act Shows Changed Era at Hand for Industry; Labor Act Analysis Shows New Era for Industry", The New York Times, June 24, 1947. Accessed June 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "29 U.S. Code § 173 - Functions of Service". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  5. ^ "29 U.S. Code § 158 - Unfair labor practices". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  6. ^ Staff. "Appointed by President As U.S. Mediation Chief", The New York Times, August 8, 1948. Accessed June 23, 2009.
  7. ^ Staff. "CHING, PRESIDENT CONFER; Mediation Head Expects to Take Office About Sept. 3", The New York Times, August 13, 1947. Accessed June 23, 2009.
  8. ^ Staff. "C. S. Ching Is Sworn In as Mediation Chief; Declares He Will Produce 'No Miracles'", The New York Times, September 6, 1947. Accessed June 23, 2009.
  9. ^ Staff. "SHIP STRIKE NEARS END; Federal Mediators Report Progress in Bethlehem Tie-up", The New York Times, September 23, 1947. Accessed June 23, 2009.
  10. ^ Staff. "NFL, NFLPA to start federal mediation on Monday, Associated Press, February 17, 2011. Accessed February 17, 2011.
  11. ^ McGran, Kevin (November 26, 2012). NHL lockout: Mediators called in for meetings this week. The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Rosiak, Luke. "Bureaucrats at tiny federal agency FMCS buy legions of luxuries with purchase cards", The Washington Examiner, October 1, 2013. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  13. ^ Rosiak, Luke. "Head of scandal-plagued FMCS to resign following Washington Examiner series", The Washington Examiner, November 26, 2013. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Allison Beck Confirmed as Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service", Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  15. ^ A Timeline of Events in Modern American Labor Relations, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Staff. "President Accepts Ching Resignation; He Praises Nation's Top Labor Conciliator -- David L. Cole Named Mediation Head ", The New York Times, September 16, 1952. Accessed June 23, 2009.

External linksEdit