Contract Update #12
2011 No. 10 – March 22, 2012
BARGAINING MOVES TO MEDIATION PROCESS
The ongoing bargaining dispute between the NPMHU and the Postal Service – to determine the terms and conditions of the 2011 National Agreement – is headed to mediation. The mediation will be conducted under the supervision of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), which is charged, under the Postal Reorganization Act as amended in 2006, with appointing the mediator.
Earlier today, FMCS Director George Cohen announced that he was appointing Herbert Fishgold as the mediator for the NPMHU/USPS dispute. As required by statute, Mr. Fishgold is “a mediator of nationwide reputation and professional stature, . . . who is also a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.” Indeed, Mr. Fishgold has served as a third-party neutral for more than 30 years, during which time he has mediated and arbitrated bargaining disputes in a wide range of industries at the national, state, and local levels.
The statute instructs the parties that they “shall cooperate with the mediator in an effort to reach an agreement and shall meet and negotiate in good faith at such times and places that the mediator, in consultation with the parties, shall direct.” The mediation will continue for at least sixty days, unless the parties agree otherwise, either because they have reached a tentative agreement or because they and the mediator believe that an extension of the mediation process would be appropriate. Thereafter, if the bargaining dispute is still ongoing, the parties will adopt further dispute resolution procedures, to include binding interest arbitration.
Importantly, the mediator does not have the power to issue binding settlements or resolutions, and thus cannot compel the parties to reach an agreement. Rather, the mediator serves as a facilitator of discussions, making suggestions to the parties in an effort to keep the dialogue and process of negotiations moving forward.
As the mediation moves forward, to the extent possible during periods of confidential communications, we will keep you informed of developments through additional Contract Updates.