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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 $35.00. Panel requests submitted via the PDF form, and/or panel requests requiring postal or fax delivery incur a charge of $70.00.
The fee for supplying a specified list of arbitrator biographies other than through a panel request is $35, plus 25 cents per page (Note that such a list does not open a case and FMCS has no further involvement in the case).
The fee for opening a case and requesting a panel of arbitrators submitted through our online system is $35.00.
The fee for requesting a panel for “manual” processing by our staff is $70.00.
The fee for making a direct appointment, if a specific arbitrator is requested by both parties, is $30.
More information can be found here: https://www.fmcs.gov/services/arbitration/
FMCS has three location designations from which parties may select arbitrators:
- Metropolitan (requestor may choose either a 60 or 125-mile radius of the site of the dispute);
- Sub-Regional (within a 250-mile radius of the site of the dispute; or
- Regional (as shown on the arbitration regional map).
- 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.
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 $30.
- Labor Arbitration Information System, Axon Group/LRP Publications, 360 Hiatt Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418, (800-341-7874).
- CCH, Inc., Attn: Jackie Salman, 2700 Lake Cook Road, Riverwoods, IL 60015,
- Commerce Clearing House, 10100 Martin Luther King, St. Petersburg, FL 33716, (813) 576-3189 ext. 779.
Notices and Filings FAQs
In the private sector, no modification or termination of an existing 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. When a healthcare institution is involved, the notice times are extended to 90 and 60 days respectively. Also when a healthcare institution is involved, where the bargaining is for an initial agreement following certification or recognition, at least 30-days-notice of the existence of a dispute must be given by the labor organization.
FMCS regulations require that the notices to us be in writing. FMCS provides a form (F-7) for the required notification and it is easy to submit it online at https://www.fmcs.gov/f-7-notice-submission-form/.
10 days prior to a union’s intent to strike or picket a health care institution, the union must:
- prepare, in writing, a letter explaining the date and time that the strike or picketing will begin;
- serve it on the employer; and
- send a copy to the FMCS.
The amount available for grant funding in FY2020 has not yet been determined.
If grant funding is available, generally applications are accepted between March and May annually.
The Federal Assistance Listing number for the Labor-Management Cooperation Grant Program is 34-002.
Collective Bargaining Mediation FAQs
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.
Alternative Bargaining Processes FAQs
– Critical Issues Bargaining
– Issues and Interests
– Expedited Bargaining
– Interest Based Bargaining
– Affinity Economic Bargaining
Grievance Mediation FAQs
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.
Effective Contract Administration FAQs
• 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
Labor-Management Partnership FAQs
Group problem solving
Communicating with constituents
Interest-based problem solving
Effective dialogue management and recording
Understanding yourself and others
Group dynamics and shared leadership
Active listening techniques
• Introduction to LMC/P
• Principles of LMC/P
• Structuring an LMC/P
• Skills Building
• 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
• 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
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
• 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
Administrative Program Dispute FAQs
• Team and workgroup facilitation
• Small or Large Group Problem-Solving
• Agency Cooperation and Collaboration
• Negotiated Rulemaking
• Public Policy Dialogues
Dispute Resolution Systems Design FAQs
Regulatory Negotiations FAQs
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 discuss public policy concerns and to inform public policy decision makers as well as establish and oversee meeting processes.
Shared Neutrals FAQs
The Shared Neutrals program (SN) allows agencies to receive mediation at no charge for disputes occurring in their agencies. SN uses a pool of trained collateral duty federal employees who provide mediation services to agencies other than their own in exchange for the same services to their agency. Providing mediators across agency lines supports fundamental mediation principles such as neutrality and confidentiality because the mediators are outsiders to the agencies where they are mediating.
The principal SN program for the national capital region is operated by FMCS as of December 3, 2018. Outside of the DC metropolitan region, the 21 existing SN programs are administered by one of the local Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) or a member agency of one of those FEBs (e.g., The Minneapolis SN Program is administered by the Department of Interior. The Atlanta program is administered by the CDC.) FMCS will be offering to administer any of the regional programs for any FEB or administering federal agency that elects to use our services.
A co-mediator is trained in basic mediation skills but has limited mediation experience. SN maintains a registry of co-mediators who team with those who have mediated at least three cases. After a mentoring period, and successful completion of three mediations, co-mediators are eligible to become lead mediators.
In addition to the DC-based program for the National Capital/Baltimore region, the following have SN programs:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Colorado, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Orleans, Oklahoma, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, South Florida and Washington, DC.
A number of collaborative and cooperative SN programs operate through local Federal Executive Boards. These programs allow participating Federal agencies, through reciprocal agreements, to share trained neutral mediators and other mediation resources. Please visit https://www.adr.gov/fai.html#snp for a listing of FEB Shared Neutrals Programs.
Many have been trained by FMCS via a contract that FMCS has with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Representative locations include Philadelphia, Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Atlanta. FMCS will be offering basic mediation training programs to fulfill the training requirement at no charge to participating agencies in the DC region and is currently in discussions with OPM to provide these trainings on at no charge other than for overnight travel if required.
Labor costs are not charged; agencies “pay” by making selected employees of their own available to other participating agencies as part of the pool. Each local program has its own practices and procedures for covering travel expenses. Consult your local program.
To participate in the DC-based program, all federal employee are potentially eligible as long as they have the written permission of their supervisor. In general, upon receiving supervisor permission, each new co-mediator must have received training via a 20-hour or 40-hour course; new applicants as of January 2019 must have received 40 hours of training from FMCS, another federal agency, or approved program, and at least two letters of reference. To become a lead mediator, a trained co-mediator must additionally: (1) provide two letters of reference from two qualified mediators or trainer/evaluators; and (2) have completed at least three co-mediations with a qualified mediator or five independent mediations with positive evaluations from qualified trainer/evaluators. Feedback on the co-mediator’s performance is used to determine when the transition to lead happens. Programs outside of the DC-based SN usually have similar requirements, but you should consult your local program for details.
SN programs are subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in Section 574 of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act as amended in 1996 in addition to any other rules a local program may impose. For example, the Washington, DC program has its Standards of Practice for Shared Neutrals which contain very familiar provisions. If outside the DC-based region, consult your local program for details. Participating agencies and neutrals should also check with their counsel’s office and/or ADR program office regarding ethical requirements that may be applicable to neutrals.