Definition: Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) is an independent organization of the US government that exists to help solve disputes between managements of organizations and their labor unions. The agents at FMCS are not supported legally and rely solely on past experience and individual persuasive techniques.
According to the Labor-Management Relations Act, the organization must file a report with the FMCS within 30 days of not reaching consensus with the union. The FMCS provides both mediation and conciliation services. Mediation involves being an active participant of both parties by arranging meetings and providing viable, win-win solutions. Conciliation however involves being a third party resource for both sides. A conciliator will not take part in joint meetings unlike the mediator but will present each side’s argument to the other in a private meeting. FMCS also provide arbitration support wherein the arbitrator listens to both sides and decides which side shall prevail.
In 2002 FMCS started an online platform that provided comprehensive information to the public. The website also tries to digitalize the role of a mediator by providing online documents to guide the management and the labor union to resolve the issue.