George H. Cohen was sworn in as the 17th Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on October 8, 2009.
During his tenure, Mr. Cohen has personally mediated a number of high-profile disputes including those between Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Union, the Metropolitan Opera and its orchestra musicians represented by American Federation of Musicians Local 802, the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the American Red Cross and a national coalition of labor unions, and the NBA and the NBA Players Association.
Apart from those disputes, Director Cohen has proactively pursued a program of encouraging the labor-management community to establish ongoing, cooperative committees devoted to problem solving as the most effective means for addressing complex and controversial issues that confront employers and their unions in today’s difficult economic environment. In particular, this program has been directed at health care-related issues and the need for public education reform through labor-management collaboration to advance student achievement.
Prior to becoming Director, Mr. Cohen had an extensive and distinguished career as a labor lawyer, negotiator, and mediator. During the period 1966-2005, he was a senior partner at Bredhoff & Kaiser, a Washington, D.C. law firm with a national practice, specializing in representing private and public sector labor organizations in collective bargaining involving a wide variety of industries (including sports, entertainment, steel, airline, and rail) and government entities employing teachers, police, and firefighters. In addition, Mr. Cohen is an experienced advocate having argued five landmark labor cases before the United States Supreme Court and more than 100 appellate and federal district court cases.
From 2005 until he was appointed Director, Mr. Cohen engaged in a solo practice as a mediator successfully assisting the parties in resolving high-profile private and public sector disputes and serving as a pro bono member of the prestigious Mediation Panel for the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit.
Director Cohen is a graduate of Cornell University and its Law School and has a LLM degree from Georgetown University Law School. Prior to entering into private practice, Mr. Cohen served as an appellate court attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. From the mid 1970's thru 2005, Mr. Cohen was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law School where he taught the Art of Collective Bargaining, Labor Law and Professional Sports and The Law of Occupational Safety and Health.
Among his achievements, Mr. Cohen was listed in Best Lawyers in America for 25 consecutive years and has been named a Legend of the DC Bar.