While the primary focus of FMCS' work is to mediate contract negotiation disputes between companies and the unions representing their employees, we also provide traditional mediation services to resolve disputes between parties in non-employment situations.
As recognition of FMCS’s effectiveness in the collective bargaining arena grew, Congress began to turn to FMCS for assistance with a wide range of conflicts involving and/or affecting the federal government.
FMCS’s primary strategic asset is its expertise in conflict management and institutional development. Although the agency’s work is grounded in the relevant theory, it approaches conflict management from the perspective of the practitioner, drawing on over fifty five years of mediation and facilitation experience. Consistent with this, all of the agency’s training and consulting services are provided by full-time, professional mediators. FMCS’s areas of expertise include:
Conflict assessment: Engaging stakeholders in the assessment of their conflicts and conflict-management needs. This forms the basis for effective strategy development, action, and evaluation.
Mediation: “Third party” involvement in disputes or negotiations. The agency’s approach to mediation depends on the parties and issues involved, and its training programs are based on respect for different norms and experiences related to third-party involvement.
Convening and facilitation of multi-party processes: Identifying stakeholders with diverse experiences and perspectives and facilitating dialogues and consensus-building processes.
Training: Designing and implementing customized training programs in negotiation, mediation, convening and facilitation, systems design, and other aspects of conflict prevention and resolution. Training programs are highly participatory, drawing on the experiences and insights of participants.
Systems design and implementation: Assisting organizations, communities, and countries with the design and implementation of effective conflict-management systems. This includes consulting on the development of organizations, public policy, and legislation.
Technological support: Where the necessary resources exist, providing technology-enabled conflict-management and democracy-building assistance, as well as training and support in the use of technology to assist with many aspects of negotiation, consensus building, strategic planning, elections, and other applications.