Collective Bargaining Mediation
Mediation is a tool through which the federal government supports sound and stable labor management relations. As neutrals, FMCS mediators provide a third-party perspective and leverage the expertise of the skilled negotiators at the table to address the core interests of the negotiating parties. For frequently asked questions, click here.
Required Notices from Parties to FMCS
The laws and regulations on the duty to notify FMCS and state mediation agencies of disputes can be a bit complicated. Below is a broad outline, but you should get advice on notice requirements from your own counsel or from the National Labor Relations Board (https://www.nlrb.gov). The summary below is for general information only.
- No modification or termination of a 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. For healthcare institutions, the notice times are extended to 90 and 60 days respectively.
- FMCS regulations require that the notices be in writing. FMCS provides a form (F-7) for the required notification. As shown in the video here, filing the form online is the fastest and easiest way to do it and provides you with a confirmation number for future reference. For online filing, go to the FMCS F-7 Notice Submission Form.
- When a healthcare institution is involved in bargaining for an initial contract, the labor organization is required to notify FMCS within 30 days of the “existence of a dispute.”
- Where a healthcare institution is involved, the labor organization also has a duty to provide 10 days advance notice to the other party and to FMCS before any strike, picket, or other concerted refusals to work.
- FMCS requests notification from the parties whenever an initial contract is to be bargained following recognition or certification.
Required Notices from Parties to State Agencies
As noted above, when a party wishing to modify or terminate their collective bargaining agreement notifies FMCS, it is also required to simultaneously “notify any State or Territorial agency established to mediate and conciliate disputes within the State or Territory where the dispute occurred.” For convenience, here is a link to a list of state labor and mediation agencies, maintained by the Association of Labor Relations Agencies (of which FMCS is a member): https://alra.org/member-agencies/#state. Please note that information for individual states is subject to change, and a party should independently confirm that they are giving notice to the applicable state agency through the most recently updated address and/or point of contact (in many cases, however, there may be no such agency). Also, note that in many cases, the employer is not within a particular state agency’s jurisdiction (for example, a public sector labor relations commission or board may not have jurisdiction over private sector cases) and notice to such an agency may not be appropriate; parties should check to make sure that the agency is a proper recipient of notice.