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|Corporations Frequently and Effectively Use Mediation in Collective Bargaining|
Third-party mediators have long played a role in private sector collective bargaining negotiations, helping employers and employees come to agreements and avoid drawn-out, costly disputes. The mediators at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) would oversee the mediation process outlined in the Employee Free Choice Act, just as they do now when corporations and unions seek a neutral party to help them come to agreement on a fair contract.
Neutral, Third-Party Mediators Commonly Negotiate Union Contracts in the Private Sector
Congress created the FMCS as part of the 1947 Labor-Management Relations Act, and for the past 60 years the agency’s mediators have served as “third party neutrals to facilitate the settlement of issues in the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.”1 FMCS mediators are now involved in more than a quarter of all private sector negotiations.2 Between fiscal years 2003 and 2008, the agency mediated nearly 19,000 private sector negotiations, affecting over six million employees.3
Mediation Is a Productive, Effective Process
Despite claims from corporate special interests, mediators improve the bargaining process by clarifying where the parties differ, facilitating an understanding of the long and short term effects of the proposals, keeping the dialogue moving forward, suggesting recommendations, and establishing realistic expectations.4 Mediation is proven to be effective; in fiscal year 2008, 87 percent of mediated negotiations were settled.5
Major Corporations Use Mediation to Settle Bargaining Stalemates
From 2003-2008, a wide range of employers and their unions have engaged in mediation on a voluntary basis to settle disputes, including General Electric, Borders, Pepsi Cola, and Princeton University.6
Workers Deserve Access to Mediation and Arbitration
The Employee Free Choice Act levels the playing field by giving both
workers and companies the right to bring in an outside mediator and
then an arbitrator if they can’t settle a contract. It’s a fair and
effective way for workers to reach an agreement with their employers
for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
1 Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Sixty-First Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2008.
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|Employee Free Choice Act|
|Allies Taking Action|
A growing, bipartisan coalition of policymakers supports the Employee Free Choice Act, federal legislation that would ensure workers have a free choice and a fair chance to form a union.