FAQs

FAQs 2017-06-26T13:00:42+00:00

FAQs

Arbitration FAQs
Grant FAQs
Grievance Mediation FAQs
Collective Bargaining Mediation FAQs
Collective Bargaining Mediation FAQs
Notices & Fillings FAQs
Effective Contract Administration FAQ
Organizational Development FAQ
Labor-Management Partnership FAQ
Repairing Broken Relationships FAQ
Workplace Mediation FAQ
Administrative Program Dispute FAQ
Facilitation FAQ
Dispute Resolution Systems Design FAQ
Regulatory Negotiations FAQ
Public Policy Dialogues FAQ

Arbitration FAQs

Go to https://arbitration.fmcs.gov , login (or register as a “panel requestor” if you do not have a login) and provide the information for the request. Once you click “submit,” your request will be processed very quickly. (Note: If there are special requirements, agreed upon by both parties, that are not options on the online system, you will need to download the PDF version of the R-43 form found in our Resource area and fill it in. If using the PDF, please scan and submit to arbitration@fmcs.gov; if unable to do so, you may fax to 202-606-3749, or mail to FMCS Arbitration, 250 E St. SW, Washington, DC 20427). Panel requests submitted online with email panel delivery to both parties cost $30.00. Panel requests submitted via the pdf form, and/or panel requests requiring postal or fax delivery incur a charge of $50.00.

The fee for supplying arbitrator biographies other than through a panel request is $25, plus 25 cents per page.  The fee for making a direct appointment, if a specific arbitrator is requested by both parties, is $20.

FMCS has three location designations from which parties may select arbitrators:

  1. Metropolitan (requestor may choose either a 60 or 125-mile radius of the site of the dispute);
  2. Sub-Regional (within a 250-mile radius of the site of the dispute; or
  3. Regional (as shown on the arbitration regional map).
  4. Nationwide panels may be specified only by express agreement of both parties and must be processed by FMCS staff.

Note: If there are not a sufficient number of arbitrators based on geographic and other specifications, the system will notify and allow the requestor to bump up to the next larger geographic area

.

The parties must inform FMCS of their mutual selection (through striking of names or otherwise); if the parties use a “priority ranking” method, each party must provide FMCS with their ranked list of preferred choices (“Priority Ranking”) so that we may determine the highest jointly-ranked arbitrator. (You must submit your contract language if you use the Priority Ranking method.) We will then appoint the arbitrator and instruct him/her to contact the parties and arrange for a hearing date. (FMCS Rules require that arbitrators contact the parties within 14 days of their appointment to schedule a hearing.) The arbitrator works directly with the parties to schedule a hearing date.

The Case Administrator who is identified on the panel sent to the parties is the person to contact regarding any questions concerning your arbitration panel. Contact the Supervisor of Case Administrators or the Director of Arbitration regarding more complicated matters or with complaints about FMCS services.

To be admitted to the Roster, an applicant must be experienced, competent, and acceptable in decision-making roles in the resolution of labor disputes. Applicants must a detailed application, five labor arbitration awards, and five references. In lieu of the five awards, qualified applicants could successfully complete the FMCS “Becoming a Labor Arbitrator” training course, sponsored by the FMCS Institute, within five years immediately preceding the date of application, and submit two arbitration awards as described above. This 40-hour course is geared toward labor management practitioners with substantial experience in labor relations and collective bargaining disputes who wish to become labor arbitrators.   For more details on application and admission to the Roster, see the Information on joining the Arbitrator Roster.

Yes, this is called a direct appointment by joint request. The charge for this service is $20.
There are three sources of which we are aware:

  1. Labor Arbitration Information System, Axon Group/LRP Publications, 360 Hiatt Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418, (800-341-7874).
  2. CCH, Inc., Attn: Jackie Salman, 2700 Lake Cook Road, Riverwoods, IL 60015,
  3. Commerce Clearing House, 10100 Martin Luther King, St. Petersburg, FL 33716, (813) 576-3189 ext. 779.
FMCS rules require an arbitrator to contact the parties within 14 days of the appointment to schedule a hearing. Arbitrator decisions are to be made no later than 60 days from the date of the closing of the record, as determined by the arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties or specified by the collective bargaining agreement or law. Also, arbitrators must notify the parties of any delay in rendering the decision and request an extension. Arbitrators are also required to notify FMCS as soon as they know they must seek a delay.
The parties should notify FMCS of an arbitrator appointment so that the agency can intervene on the party’s behalf should there be delays by the arbitrator in scheduling or rendering a decision or allegations of violations of FMCS Arbitration Policies and Procedures and The Code of Professional Responsibility for Arbitrators of Labor-Management Disputes. FMCS has no authority to get involved in “private” arbitration matters, even if the arbitrator serves on the FMCS Roster.
FMCS does not support parties withholding payments to arbitrators if the case is appealed. If the collective bargaining agreement stipulates, “loser pays all” FMCS’ position is that it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that the arbitrator is paid once the decision is rendered.
FMCS strongly encourages the parties to inform FMCS of arbitrators who have not delivered an award within 60 days of closing of the record or within the timeframe otherwise provided in the collective bargaining agreement or by mutual agreement of the parties. The Agency will not disclose to the arbitrator which party lodged the complaint.
FMCS strongly encourages a party or parties to an FMCS case to notify the agency if they believe an arbitrator may have violated either the FMCS Arbitration Policies and Procedures or The Code of Professional Responsibility for Arbitrators of Labor-Management Disputes. To discuss your concerns, you may contact Arthur Pearlstein, the Director of Arbitration at 202-606-5111. To file a formal, written complaint, please send your complaint to the Director of Arbitration, 250 E Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20427 or via email at apearlstein@fmcs.gov.You must cite the section of the Code or FMCS policy you believe the arbitrator has violated. All complaints are carefully examined and may be referred to the Arbitrator Review Board.

Notices and Filings FAQs

You should contact the National Labor Relations Board. Their website is www.nlrb.gov. Click on the “Offices” tab and enter the employer’s zip code to obtain the address and telephone number of the local NLRB office. When you contact that office, ask for the Information Officer.
Section 8(g) of the Act requires 10 day notification of intention to strike or picket any any health care institution. This includes picketing of any kind, or short-lived work stoppages. The purpose of this provision is to allow the health care institution sufficient time to plan for patient care and to give mediation agencies an opportunity to resolve the dispute before patient care is adversely impacted by a work stoppage.

10 days prior to a union’s intent to strike or picket a health care institution, the union must:

  1. prepare, in writing, a letter explaining the date and time that the strike or picketing will begin;
  2. serve it on the employer; and
  3. send a copy to the FMCS.
Section 8(d) of the National Labor Relations Act requires parties to a contract to notify the FMCS of upcoming contract expiration.
The FMCS does not retain copies of your contract and does not interpret statutes or regulations. Therefore, we simply cannot evaluate whether your notice was timely filed. We can, however, notify you that we are in receipt of the notice, and inform you of the date we received it.
For health care institutions, in the case of renewal contracts, two kinds of notices are required:

  1. 90 day notice, in advance of the termination/expiration of the contract, of intent to renegotiate to be given by one party to the other; and
  2. 60 day notice, in advance of the termination/expiration of the contract, notifying FMCS and State mediation service of intent to terminate or renegotiate.

NOTE: Once one of the parties sends the 90 day notice, it is the same party that is obligated to send the FMCS the 60 day notice.

For non-health care institutions:

  1. 60 days prior to expiration of the current contract, serve written notice on the other party to a contract of proposed termination or modification; and
  2. 30 days prior to contract expiration, notify the FMCS of the existence of a dispute if no successor agreement has been reached by then.

If you are unsure whether your institution is a health care or non-health care institution, or you are unsure of your legal requirements regarding notice filing, contact the local NLRB office closest to you.

There are a significant number of legal issues surrounding an 8(g) notice and the FMCS is not in any position to evaluate whether a union’s actions are lawful or not. If you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of an 8(g) notice, contact your local NLRB office.
There are a significant number of legal issues surrounding 8(g) notice and the FMCS is not in any position to evaluate whether a union’s actions are lawful or not. If you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of an 8(g) notice, contact your local NLRB office.
Because of the legal issues involved in an 8(g) case, we cannot tell you whether your notice was timely filed. We can tell you whether we are in receipt of the notice, and inform you of the date we received it.
Under no circumstances will a mediator testify at any proceeding (court, administrative, or arbitration) about any discussions that occurred during mediation. This is the case with collective bargaining mediation, or mediation of grievances, or employment disputes. Even if a subpoena is served, the FMCS will move to quash the subpoena and will engage in every effort to avoid testimony of mediators at any proceeding.
No. A mediator will not speak to any investigator from any state or federal agency inquiring about the content of a mediation in which he/she was involved.
If you have any concerns regarding a mediator, please contact the Director of Mediation Services in the mediator’s territory. The Director of Mediation Services will respond to you.

Grant FAQs

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Labor-Management Cooperation Grant Program will have $266,000 for grant funding in FY2017.

Please consult the FMCS web site (www.FMCS.gov) to download forms and information.  You may obtain additional information from our Grants Office by calling (202) 606-8181 or contact Linda Gray-Broughton at lgbroughton@fmcs.gov.

FMCS will accept applications between March 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017.

No. Funds generated by grant-supported efforts are considered “project income” and may not be used for matching purposes.
All matching funds may come from state or local government sources or private contributions, but may not generally include other federal funds.
The Grants Office will contact awardees.
No. A mediator may not help the labor-management committee prepare its grant proposal. However, a mediator may explain the grants program in general and discuss prior successful grant projects.
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for the Labor-Management Cooperation Grant Program is 34-002.
No. An independent consultant cannot perform services funded by that grant (i.e., project facilitation, project evaluation) under a separate contract. This practice is in violation of Federal Contract Law. In any case, FMCS encourages labor and management parties to develop their own grant applications together. The citations for the prohibition on a consultant who prepared the grant from then bidding for work or positions contained in the grant are 48 CFR section 9.5 and OMB Circular 2 CFR 200.
Applicants who received funding under this program in the last six years for committee operations are not eligible to re-apply. The only exception will be made for grantees that seek funds on behalf of an entirely different committee whose efforts are totally outside of the scope of the original grant.

Collective Bargaining Mediation FAQs

Under the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, FMCS provides free mediation services in contract negotiation disputes between employers and their unionized employees.
Collective bargaining mediation is the voluntary process in which a third-party neutral assists labor and management in to reach agreement on a negotiated collective bargaining agreement.
FMCS mediators communicate with both labor and management parties to a collective bargaining agreement prior to the start of negotiations. This communication begins when one or both of the negotiating parties files an F-7 Notice of Bargaining, a legally-required notice of intent to open a collective bargaining agreement. At the request of both parties a mediator can provide assistance.
During negotiations, a mediator uses his/her knowledge of the industry, similar negotiated settlements, the parties, and the issues to guide negotiators past potential barriers to settlement. Mediators may offer procedural or substantive suggestions and recommendations throughout the process. However, a mediator does not have authority to impose a settlement or to determine contract terms.
No. The FMCS receives appropriated funding to provide its labor-management services. There is no charge to the parties for collective bargaining mediation.
Yes. FMCS mediators are well versed in a number of alternative bargaining models, including: Modified Traditional Bargaining, Issues and Interests Bargaining, Critical Issues Bargaining, Expedited Bargaining, Interest-Based Bargaining, and Affinity Approach Economic Bargaining. If you are interested in using an alternative approach in negotiations, contact a mediator to discuss which method will be most productive for your negotiations.

Alternative Bargaining Processes FAQs

– Modified Traditional Bargaining
– Critical Issues Bargaining
– Issues and Interests
– Expedited Bargaining
– Interest Based Bargaining
– Affinity Economic Bargaining
No. The FMCS receives appropriated funding to provide its labor-management services. There is no charge to the parties for collective bargaining mediation using an alternative bargaining model or training associated with an alternative bargaining model.
Expedited and Critical Issues bargaining are less time consuming than traditional bargaining. Additionally, the other collaborative models typically take no longer than traditional bargaining as they greatly reduce caucus time and maximize face-to-face constructive dialogue.
FMCS will assist the parties by conducting an on-site needs assessment to determine an appropriate bargaining model.

Grievance Mediation FAQs

In grievance mediation, parties are responsible for determining the resolution of the matter at hand. Rather than making a binding decision as an arbitrator would, a mediator guides parties to their own mutually-acceptable resolution of the grievance by identifying the underlying interests of labor and management and exploring potential avenues of settlement.
Most collective bargaining agreements provide for grievance procedures culminating in arbitration. Grievance mediation is a voluntary step after the parties have exhausted internal procedures and before arbitration. The FMCS may require that parties waive any time limits in their collective bargaining agreement if grievance mediation is to occur.
The FMCS can mediate most grievances, whether based on a disciplinary action or on a question of contract interpretation. It is the goal of the Agency that the grievance mediation process will assist parties in improving their working relationship.
Parties engaging in open honest dialogue with a mediator about their positions, interests, and goals will assist the mediator in the grievance mediation process. Additionally, the FMCS can provide training to maximize grievance mediation results and effectively negotiate grievance mediation settlements by an expansion of mediation goals and a joint focus on labor and management problem solving.
Labor or management can contact the FMCS Director of Mediation Services or a federal mediator in their area to discuss the type of assistance the FMCS can provide and to make a formal request for grievance mediation. In its formal request, labor and management must submit a signed, joint request to the FMCS asking for grievance mediation services. Formal written requests should provide a very brief description of the issues and the geographic location of the parties.
Not every matter is appropriate for grievance mediation. The FMCS reserves the right to decide whether or not it will offer its services. Filing a request with the FMCS does not commit the Agency to offer services. All involved parties must sign the FMCS Grievance Mediation Agreement before a grievance mediation can begin.
No. The FMCS receives appropriated funding to provide its labor-management services. There is no charge to the parties for grievance mediation.
No. Grievance mediation occurs as a supplemental step in a contractually-negotiated grievance procedure. By contrast, workplace mediation does not involve a grievance. Instead, it may pertain to a discrimination or other workplace complaint outside the context of a collective bargaining agreement.

Effective Contract Administration FAQs

FMCS contract administration training is tailored to the specific needs of the requesting parties. Topics often included are:
• Leadership Roles and Responsibilities
• History of Labor-Management relations
• Collective Bargaining
• 7 Tests of Just Cause & Past Practice
• Contract Administration Roles and Responsibilities
• Grievance Mediation and Handling
• Fostering Labor-Management Dialogue
• Arbitration
The FMCS recommends labor-management groups jointly attend this and all trainings. However, understanding this is not always possible contract administration training can be delivered to stewards and supervisors together or separately. The program can be tailored to suit those in a new bargaining relationship or negotiating an initial contract, new leaders in an existing labor-management relationship, or experienced labor-management partners interested in a skills refresher and an update on the latest developments in administrative practices.
No. The FMCS receives appropriated funding to provide its labor-management services. There is no charge to the parties engaged in a labor-management relationship for the FMCS training.
Both the subject matter and the timeframe for this training can be tailored to the needs of the parties. Typically, contract administration training will take 4-6 hours.

Labor-Management Partnership FAQs

FMCS Committee Effectiveness Training (CET) is a program designed to help labor-management groups of all types: area and industry committees, steering committees, work teams, taskforces, and employee advisory groups. The program provides committee members the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for effective contributions in group settings, and thus enable group goals to become reality. CET is a needs-based program. Potential program participants will be required to complete a needs assessment that will enable the mediator to tailor the workshop to the specific needs and time constraints of the group.
Program topics will be determined by discussions with potential participants and a needs assessment. Core topics include:
 Effective planning
 Effective meetings
 Brainstorming
 Group problem solving
 Consensus decision-making
 Communicating with constituents
 Interest-based problem solving
 Effective dialogue management and recording
 Understanding yourself and others
 Interpersonal skills
 Group dynamics and shared leadership
 Active listening techniques
 Action planning
The FMCS Labor-Management Partnership Program is a training designed for joint labor management partners that highlights the benefits of labor-management cooperation and provides labor-management partners tools to develop or hone a partnership or committee.
Program topics will be determined by discussions with potential participants and a needs assessment. Core topics include:
• Introduction to LMC/P
• Principles of LMC/P
• Structuring an LMC/P
• Skills Building
The program is intended for federal, public, and private sector labor-management partners. Core concepts in the course are the same for all audiences. However, training in the federal sector includes discussion on the legal basis of partnerships.
This program is meant to deliver an orientation to joint labor-management initiatives. The program will lead labor and management leaders through an examination of the philosophy and values that form the foundation of labor-management cooperation. Participants will study examples of companies and unions that have successfully implemented cooperative labor-management relationships and transformed previously toxic relationships. Additionally, the program will afford participants a chance to engage in a mediator-facilitated dialogue regarding potential cooperative labor-management programs within their own organization
This program will spend considerable time assisting labor-management partner participants to develop mutual goals and to outline a strategic plan to achieve those goals. Overall program goals include:
• Acquainting the parties with the forces that drive change in a labor-management relationship
• Educating the parties about how joint cooperative approaches may assist them to adapt to change

Organizational Development FAQs

Program topics will be determined by discussions with potential participants and a needs assessment. Incorporating the needs and goals of the participants, program delivery will include:
• Analyzing the organization’s current cultural, political, and technical systems
• Exploring the elements of a high performance workplace
• Identifying separate and joint held perceptions of the organization
• Creating a joint vision of the future
• Initiating a joint change process
• Developing necessary skills to bring about the desired change
The PIC program is based on three principles:
1. Change must be managed proactively, not passively
2. People must be treated in a fair and positive manner
3. New skills are required for an organization to manage change
With these principles in mind, the Partners-In-Change program is designed as a joint training for an organization’s labor-management leadership, supervisors, and stewards. An organization’s labor relations professionals and union representatives, individuals who handle labor issues face-to-face, should be involved. Additionally, due to the visioning and planning components of the program it is essential that an organization’s top labor and management decision makers participate in the entire program.

Repairing Broken Relationships FAQs

Program topics will be determined by discussions with potential participants and a needs assessment. Incorporating the needs and goals of the participants, program delivery will include:
• Introduction to the RBO process
• Identification of viewpoints, concerns and conflict
• Skills building
• Transforming viewpoints and concerns into action
• Developing an action plan
• Identifying mutual next steps
Through comprehensive training modules and structured interaction, the parties identify specific problem areas and develop mutually-agreeable objectives to address identified issues. Based on these mutually identified objectives facilitators assist the parties to establish a functional relationship that can be implemented in the workplace.

Workplace Mediation FAQs

The FMCS does not receive appropriated funding for the workplace mediation. An Agency will be charged only for mediator professional time and expenses associated with service delivery. Mediator professional time is charged at a rate of $800/day or $100/hour based on an inter-agency agreement between the FMCS and a requesting agency.
Workplace mediation may involve any dispute outside a collective bargaining relationship suited to mediation. Examples of such disputes include discrimination complaints, inter-personal conflicts, workplace inefficiencies, and team conflict. In contrast, FMCS grievance mediation services involve the mediation of an active grievance in a collective bargaining agreement.

Administrative Program Dispute FAQs

The FMCS does not receive appropriated funding for the administrative program dispute mediation services it provides. An Agency will be charged only for mediator professional time and expenses associated with the service delivery. Mediator professional time is charged at a rate of $800/day or $100/hour based on an inter-agency agreement between the FMCS and a requesting agency.
Administrative program dispute mediation involves the mediation of disputes with federal agencies arising from the agencies’ administrative, regulatory, or enforcement interactions with public or private entities. In contrast, workplace mediation may involve any dispute an employee of an agency has with his or her employer, outside a collective bargaining relationship suited to mediation. FMCS grievance mediation involves the mediation of an active grievance under a collective bargaining agreement.

Facilitation FAQs

FMCS facilitators rely on their expertise with communication principles, interest-based problem solving, and dispute resolution. Facilitators keep groups working toward group goals, maintain focused group conversation, monitor adherence to group rules of engagement, and frame, paraphrase, clarify, and synthesize group ideas.
FMCS offers facilitation for:
• Team and workgroup facilitation
• Small or Large Group Problem-Solving
• Agency Cooperation and Collaboration
• Negotiated Rulemaking
• Public Policy Dialogues
If a facilitation involves labor-management partners and a dispute that will potentially impact a labor-management relationship FMCS appropriated funds covers the cost of the facilitation services. However, if the facilitation occurs outside a labor-management relationship, the FMCS does not receive appropriated funding. In these instances, an agency will be charged only for mediator professional time and expenses associated with the delivery of mediation services. Mediator professional time is charged at a rate of $800/day or $100/hour based on an inter-agency agreement between the FMCS and a requesting agency.

Dispute Resolution Systems Design FAQs

Mediators begin with a needs assessment, diagnosis, and, ideally, a site visit. A systems design will also include a “procedures audit,” to study how issues and problems are currently resolved within an organization, available improvement paths, and a detailed plan for the implementation, maintenance, and evaluation of a new dispute resolution system.
The FMCS does not receive appropriated funding for the dispute system design services it provides. An Agency will be charged only for mediator professional time and expenses associated with the delivery of mediation services. Mediator professional time is charged at a rate of $800/day or $100/hour based on an Inter-Agency Agreement between the FMCS and a requesting Agency.

Regulatory Negotiations FAQs

In the 1980s, FMCS facilitated the first regulatory negotiation; the negotiation involved the Federal Aviation Administration. FMCS involvement in regulatory negotiations, as a convener and facilitator, expanded throughout the decade, with the Agency facilitating negotiations at the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, and other federal agencies. This year, the FMCS facilitated a rulemaking at the Department of Energy that resulted in the largest energy-savings from a single DOE rulemaking in history.
The Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 and the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 authorize the FMCS to provide its mediation and facilitation services to improve government operations and to assist agencies in regulatory negotiations.
In traditional rulemaking, agency personnel draft a new regulation with minimal outside input and publish the draft regulation in the Federal Register for public comment. This process often leads to criticism of the proposed rule and legal challenges by those impacted.

By contrast, in the regulatory negotiations stakeholders potentially impacted by a regulation collaborate with a regulatory agency to negotiate a proposed rule or regulation by consensus. Bringing interested stakeholders into the process of rule creation assists in the drafting of an efficient and effective rule. Additionally, since stakeholders who will be regulated have taken part in the negotiation process, subsequent legal challenges of a rule are less common.

Public Policy Dialogues FAQs

FMCS is often called upon to facilitate public policy discussions under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). This Act established a wide array of public-private stakeholder advisory committees intended to discussion public policy concerns and to inform public policy decision makers as well as establish and oversee meeting processes.