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September 1982, Vol. 105, No. 9
Helping labor and management
see and solve problems
John R. Stepp, Robert P. Baker and Jerome T. Barrett
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has recognized that the effective promotion of labor-management peace requires more than just an "eleventh-hour" appearance at the bargaining table by its mediators. Like most other professional organizations that respond to human emergencies, the service has learned that by blending prevention with treatment its resources are used more efficiently.
The preventive mediation function requires the mediator to be alert to symptoms of untoward labor-management relationships, to diagnose the problems accurately, and to prescribe effective remedies.1 The nature and severity of the symptoms must be recognized and traced to their source; the remedy must be suited to the location of the symptoms in the labor or management hierarchy, or both; and the parties must be persuaded that the cure is preferable to the disease and is clearly in their own self-interests.
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1 Section 203(A) of the Taft-Hartley Act states: "It shall be the duty of the Service, in order to prevent or minimize interruptions, of the free flow of commerce growing out of labor disputes, to assist parties to labor disputes in industries affecting commerce to settle such disputes through conciliation and mediation."
During the discussion on the floor of the Senate of Bill S.1126 (subsequently compromised to become the Taft-Hartley Law), Senator Irving Ives of New York made the statement: "A great lack at the present moment in the field of mediation is measures by which we may prevent industrial strife as well as cure it after it has begun. That, of course, is contemplated under the new title," (Congressional Report, p. 4,590, 5-6-47.)
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