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NLRB General Counsel Promotes Productive Collective Bargaining Through Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Partnership

Office of Public Affairs


Today, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced a new initiative to promote productive collective bargaining through partnering with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).  In a memo issued to all field offices, the NLRB’s Division of Operations Management advised Regions on new procedures that will encourage unions and employers to utilize FMCS services, including mediation, training, and card counts to show majority support.   

“The National Labor Relations Act is advanced when we coordinate with other agencies to have a whole-of-government approach, which builds on the strengths, expertise, and resources of each Agency to advance national policy,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “This approach is reflected in the recent White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment Report, which notes the ways that the NLRB and the FMCS can work together to support collective bargaining.”

The memo instructs Regions to advise parties that FMCS provides services at no cost at the time of certification, for first contract bargaining, and if charges are filed alleging bad faith bargaining. These services include:

•            Skills development training for collective-bargaining negotiation, committee effectiveness, and conflict resolution;

•            Education on contract administration;

•            and Mediation, if parties need additional assistance and support with contract negotiations.

Additionally, the FMCS is now also offering to assist parties in conducting card counts where an employer has entered into a verbal or written agreement with a union to voluntarily recognize the union upon a showing of majority support in an agreed upon bargaining unit.

The memo also advises Regions to consider seeking remedies that involve FMCS services, such as the engagement of a mediator from the FMCS to help facilitate good-faith bargaining between parties (as stated in GC 21-06) or FMCS training on collaborative bargaining.   

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.