The Federal Mediation Conciliation Service (FMCS) is a federal government agency that, in theory, helps companies and unions find peaceful and economical resolutions to labor disputes. The relationship between a company and the union that represents its employees can be acrimonious, which can result in work stoppages, violence, sabotage, and severe disruption to the company, employees, their families, and the community. So, in theory, having a neutral place to turn to fairly mediate or resolve labor disputes before they become irreparable is good. Unfortunately, I’m afraid FMCS has lost its neutrality.
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Allison Beck to be the new director of FMCS. I first met Ms. Beck when she was general counsel for the International Association of Machinists, a position she held for over 20 years. She was Associate GC for IAM for 10 years before that. She replaces George Cohen, a Steelworker, who resigned amid a government investigation into whether FMCS spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxuries and retaliated against employees who questioned the spending. I find it difficult to believe an agency headed by life-long union executives can be neutral.