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August 1985, Vol. 108, No. 8
The FMCS contribution
to nonlabor dispute resolution
Four formal procedureslitigation, arbitration, negotiation, and mediationare commonly used for the legitimate resolution of disputes between individuals or groups. In litigation and arbitration, a third party is empowered to decide the issue in question. Negotiation has the advantage of allowing the parties to participate fully in developing a solution with which each can live. Mediation blends the advantages of the other three methods, employing an objective third party, but leaving the decision on the outcome to those who must abide by it.
Since its establishment in 1947, the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), the oldest and largest mediation agency in the world,1 has acquired considerable expertise through the resolution of labor-management disputes. During the past two decades, the Service increasingly shared its skills by helping to resolve disputes outside the private-sector industrial relations arena. This article reviews the recent contributions of the Service to problem resolution in nontraditional areas. The discussion is based on FMCS documents, interviews with mediators and recipients of Service assistance, and the author's own experience as former head of the staff involved in the expanded scope.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Through its predecessor organization, the U.S. Service the FMCS can trace its history to the creation of the U.S. Department of Labor in 1913.
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