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SALARIES AND EXPENSES
Summary of 1967 estimate
The responsibility of the Service is to prevent or minimize work stoppages and to assist labor and management in settling their contract disputes by providing to the parties involved facilities for conciliation, mediation, and voluntary arbitration. The primary goals are to make the collective bargaining process more effective and to improve generally the day-to-day labor-management relationships.
In support of these objectives the Service (a) provides timely and intensive mediation to prevent or minimize the duration of work stoppages, and (b) encourages and assists the parties in the development and testing of new approaches tailored to the solution of mutual bargaining problems. Successful accomplishment of the program objectives contributes importantly to the economic well-being of the Nation.
The outstanding bargaining problems in labor-management relations today are those created by the introduction of automation and other technological changes. The major bargaining issues stem from these two factors, the single predominant issue being that of job security. Unions naturally are concerned with easing the job loss impact on its members, while employers are searching for manpower economy measures to reduce labor unit costs in the face of vigorous competitive pressures, both foreign and domestic. In practically all areas of bargaining the parties are facing up to the complexities of modern industrial life and are evolying new techniques for resolving problems which no longer respond to the last minute pressure tactics of impending deadlines. The Service through its intensive and persistent mediation and preventive mediation efforts is contributing significantly to the successful resolution of these complex issues through free collective bargaining.
Strong liaison exists between the Service and the industrial relations sections of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Through this liaison, the Service is quickly alerted to contract negotiation situations in which the companies involved have Government contracts oriented to national security or other urgent military requirements. There were some 600 such situations in the past fiscal year. In those with a degree of criticality, as indicated to us by the military or the Atomic Energy Commission, the Service exerts the utmost mediation effort to keep the negotiations proceeding without loss of production.
This type of priority arrangement with the military services and the AEC will continue unabated in view of present world uncertainties.
A total appropriation of $7,100,000 is proposed for the budget year, an increase of $381,000 over the current year's anticipated available funds. Seven new mediation positions, one research economist position, and five secretarial and typist supporting positions are proposed. Also included are funds for annualization costs for mediator positions filled for only a portion of the current year, and upgrading of new mediators who successfully compete the usual 1 year probationary and training period. Funds included in the amount of $30.000 represent restoration of pay increase cost absorption in the current fiscal year. Other increases of a supporting nature are included for personnel benefits, travel, and communications. These are illustrated in the tabulation on page 10.
The proposal for 1967 will provide for 446 full-time positions distributed organizationally as follows:
1. A national office staff of 67 positions, an increase of 2 over the current year.
2. Seven regional director and seven assistant regional director positions.
3. A mediator complement of 269 positions, an increase of 7 over the current year.
4. A regional and field office administrative, stenographic, and clerical staff of 96 positions, an increase of 4 over the current year.
I. STATUTORY AUTHORITY
The Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, established the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service as the statutory Federal agency having direct responsibility for providing mediation assistance in labor-management disputes and related activities, exclusive of raiiroads and airlines, having an effect on interstate commerce.
Executive Order 10946, dated May 26, 1961, placed additional responsibilities on the Service in connection with labor-management relations and disputes at missile sites. Mediators employed by the Service serve as chairman of local committees at missile and space sites and thus handle the field operations of the President's Missile Sites Labor Relations Commission. The Director of the Service is Vice Chairman of the Commission.
Organization of the Service is dictated by the fact that the need for mediation exists throughout all 50 States. A small staff of skilled mediators is employed on a full-time basis and stationed within the larger industrial communities. Despite the necessary geographical dispersion and the small size of the agency, 60 percent of the total personnel are full-time employed mediators. In addition, many of the national office staff members, all regional directors and assistant regional directors, participate actively in mediation cases in addition to their regularly assigned supervisory responsibilities. Approximately two-thirds of total agency staff is available for direct mediation work.
The following chart shows the regional organization consisting of 7 regional offices, 65 field offices, and 4 field station locations. The Service has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
III. WORK PROGRAM
The program administered by the Service is outlined under the principal areas of activity.
A. Dispute mediation.
G. Mediator training.
The active dispute mediation workload in the past fiscal year was the heaviest on record since the Service became an independent agency in August 1947. In fact, Service participation in labor-management contract negotiations for each of the past 4 fiscal years has been the highest on record.
The Service in particular works intensively and aggressively in all negotiating situations in which it is known that the companies are involved in military production. The closest liaison exists between the Service and the military agencies through which we are quickly alerted to the degree of military interest in specific negotiations. There were some 600 such cases in the past fiscal year involving defense production. These receive and will continue to receive priority mediation attention with the objective of keeping the negotiations proceeding without loss of production.
The statistical data on page 12 summarize the mediation activity over the past 4 fiscal years. With respect to the past fiscal year, there was a total of 21,262 assignments made (line A-2, col. D). These were compressed, through consolidations and screenouts, from some 95,900 notices of disputes (both formal and informal) received during the year. A total of 21.071 cases was closed in fiscal year 1965. Of this total, 7.445 were active cases. An active case is defined as one in which the mediator conducts one or more joint conferences with the parties. In these active cases, a total of 28,451 conferences (25,183 jointly with both parties and 3,268 with the parties separately) was held. The comparable figures for the preceding fiscal year (1964) were 26,496 conferences (23,399 joint and 3,097 separate); and for fiscal year 1963, 25,423 conferences (22.404 joint and 3,019 separate). The number of cases in 1965, on which panels of 2 or 3 mediators was assigned, totaled 508, compared with 392 in 1964 and 400 in 1963.
In addition to the 7,415 active cases closed in 1965, there were 13,626 assignments closed in which no formal mediation activity involving joint conferences was required. In each of these, however, it was necessary for the mediator to maintain liaison with the parties to be certain that negotiations were progressing satisfactorily and that there was no likelihood of a stalemate developing This liaison activity understandably requires a good deal of time because in many situations the mediator gives counsel and advice to the parties even though these assignments do not develop into or are not recorded as activ cases.
The workload data is exclusive of missile sites activity and preventive mediation activities.
Table A.-Comparison of disputes mediation workload (number of cases crelu
sive of missile sites and preventive mediation activities), fiscal years 1962–65
The Service is continually concerned with providing timely and intensive mediation to prevent or minimize the duration of work stoppages. It is in this area of threatened or actual work stoppages that the Service concentrates the majority of its resources and mediation efforts. Of significance in this respect, in the 21,071 assignments closed by the Service in the past fiscal year, stoppages occurred in only 8.5 percent of the assignments.
In accomplishing this successful mediation record, a variety of flexible mediation techniques and procedures have been introduced and are utilized in threatening dispute situations. For instance frequent use is made at the regional level of panels of mediators (two or three) in the more difficult dispute situations. Or, alternatively, and again only in serious disputes, an experienced mediator from the national office may join the local mediator(s) in joint efforts to resolve the dispute. In the past fiscal year panels were used in more than 300 situations. On other occasions, the locale of the negotiations is moved to the national office in Washington where the Director, the Deputy Director and/or the Disputes Director may become active participants in the negotiations. In all such cases, continuity of mediation is maintained because the mediator(s) initially working on the case stay with it to its conclusion.
To the extent that the Service is able to prevent critical disputes from flaring into actual or imminent stoppages requiring appointment of ad hoc panels or boards, there is a substantial monetary saving. All mediation efforts must be completely exhausted before the Director recommends any resort to ad hoc panel or board mediation.
The first 6 months of the current fiscal year (July-December 1965) show a continuation of the high level of mediation activity of the past few years. In this period a total of 3,915 joint conference cases was closed compared with 3,812 cases closed for the comparable period of the preceding year. Preventive mediation
Beyond the mediation of crisis disputes, the Service seeks also the long-term improvement of the labor-management relationship and the resolution of continuing problems. Experience demonstrates that the preventive mediation concept offers promise for such improvement. It is one of the more significant developments in collective bargaining in recent years and, in time, it will become more widely accepted by the negotiating parties. The Service regards its role essentially as that of a catalyst in the process.
Of particular significance in this regard is the report released by the National Labor Management Panel in December 1964 on the subject of preventive mediation. The Panel made independent studies of various plans conceived by managements and unions, sometimes with assistance, designed to continue problem solv.