Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Appointees to the Federal Service Impasses Panel

I seem to have a proclivity to write about obscure federal government organizations. First the Administrative Conference of the U.S. and now the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP).

The FSIP is the labor-relations panel that resolves collective bargaining impasses between federal agencies and federal sector unions under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. FSIP, which is a part of the Federal Labor Relations Agency, is composed of seven people appointed by the President, one of whom is designated as Chair, and all of whom serve on a part-time basis.

If collective bargaining between federal agency management and the appropriate union, followed by mediation assistance, proves unsuccessful, the FSIP has the authority to recommend procedures and to take whatever action it deems necessary to resolve the impasse.

I write about FSIP because President Obama has appointed some very impressive and qualified people -– people with not only federal sector labor relations experience, but with significant and broad-based mediation and neutral dispute resolution experience. I know well and have worked with the Chair and many of the Panel Members as colleagues and mediators. Thus I feel qualified to opine that the President has made some excellent appointments.

Mary Jacksteit, Chair of FSIP, has over 20 years of experience in mediation, facilitation and negotiation working for non-profit organizations, government agencies and community organizations. She has worked as a labor arbitrator in the public and private sectors, serving on panels of the American Arbitration Association, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and U.S. Postal Service. For ten years, she worked at Search for Common Ground -- a conflict resolution organization. Since 2007 Mary has been associated with the Public Conversations Project in Watertown, Massachusetts and her private practice focuses on community, public policy, organizational planning, and conflict management.

The other members of the FSIP include:

  • Martin H. Malin, a Professor of Law and the Director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses in labor law, collective bargaining, arbitration, public sector labor law, employment law, contracts and jurisprudence.
  • Barbara B. Franklin, an arbitrator and mediator in Washington, DC, listed on arbitration rosters administered by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the American Arbitration Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals and District Court for the District of Columbia.
  • Marvin E. Johnson, a mediator and arbitrator of public and private disputes who is listed on the rosters of JAMS, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, the American Arbitration Association, and Accormend Associates. He is the founder of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Thomas Angelo, who began his career as an attorney with the Solicitor’s Office at the U.S. Department of Labor and then joined the National Treasury Employees Union, serving as Associate General Counsel in Washington D.C. and Regional Attorney for the Federal Labor Relations Authority. In 1983 he became a full time arbitrator and is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.
  • Edward F. Hartfield is the Executive Director of the National Center for Dispute Settlement. He has devoted his entire 36-year career to serving as an impartial party as mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, election administrator, trainer, neutral convener, and ombudsman, also having served as a mediator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
  • Don Wasserman has been a labor relations professional his entire career. Since 2001, he has been an arbitrator/mediator specializing at all levels of the public sector. He is a Member of the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Employee Relations Council.

I believe these appointments will result in two significant changes at the FSIP. First, the Panel Members will be seen, and function, as neutrals and not favor one side – a change, at least in the perception of many, from past years. Second, since most of these appointees are seasoned mediators, the Panel is likely to place a greater emphasis on mediation and take appropriate steps to encourage the parties to resolve their own disputes, even if with the assistance of a mediator.

Congratulations to Mary, Marvin, Ed, Don and the other members of the Federal Service Impasses Panel. I know that they will all mediate well and fairly.


  1. Really fascinating. but next week, could you talk about empty nesting?

  2. Actually next (this) week I am going to post something about TV programs. This will be especially appealing to those of you interested in empty nesting.
    Dan Dozier