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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service ("FMCS") was created in 1947. While an array of subsequent statutory enactments have expanded the FMCS charter, the core mission of FMCS has been, and remains, to assist labor and management to settle their disputes through mediation as well as to promote the development of sound and stable labor management relationships. The vision of how that mission will be realized has changed significantly in response to changes in our society, to expanded knowledge of conflict resolution and labor relations, and to lessons gathered by the nation's mediators over a half-century of work with collective bargaining relationships and dispute mediation interventions. During FMCS' first twenty-five years, the adversarial labor management relationship model was so deeply ingrained in our minds that it was the model of choice. Few even considered the possibility that other options existed. However, under the adversarial model, symptoms of deteriorating labor-management relationships that stemmed from failure to adequately address problems during the term of the contracts were increasingly manifesting at the bargaining table. The number and intensity of non-economic issues frequently grew to unwieldy dimensions. FMCS responded by developing a variety of interventions to be utilized by parties during the life of collective bargaining agreements. The design and implementation of a new form of collective bargaining, called Interest-Based Bargaining or "IBB," proved to be one of the most important FMCS interventions to solve labor-management problems and manage conflict.