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The Service also has focused its attention on the

conduct of collective bargaining in a number of industries critical to the economy and welfare of the nation. These in

clude energy, health care, construction, food, and the public


The Service targets these industries because they

have an important impact on the economy.

In FY 1979 the

Service will intensify its contacts with these industries, and

its involvement in contract negotiations.

FMCS can then give

priority to monitoring the progress of these negotiations for

signs of possible trouble.

Through early and active involve

ment by the Service, strikes in these critical industries can

be avoided.

As you know, more than three years ago FMCS was given

special responsibilities for mediating labor-management disputes

in the health care industry.

Our caseload in this sector is


It is a role we still are adjusting to in an effort

to find ways to be more effective.

For example, we are having

problems with court interpretations of the law with respect to

the time when a Board of Inquiry can be named in stalemated


It is possible that we may have to seek a change in

the law.

Last summer, we abolished the health care advisory

committee both on the recommendation of the Office of Management and Budget and our own assessment that the committee was not

fulfilling the function for which it was set up.


however, we opened what we hope will be continuing discussions

with the major unions and employers in the health care industry

as to what mechanism might be most feasible for joint discussior.

of the problems in the industry.

In the food industry, FMCS has a mediator who is a

permanent member of the Steering Committee of the Joint Labor

Management Committee of the Retail Food Industry.

This Committee

is actively involved in the prevention and settlement of labor

management disputes, and has as a chief goal the restructuring

of collective bargaining in the industry.

During FY 1979, an estimated 2,500 contracts will ex

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nonunion sector of the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and is making significant inroads into the jobs heretofore

performed by the unionized crafts.

This competition is forcing

union negotiators in some cases to accept smaller wage increases

or no increases at all.

Changes in work rules, long a tightly

guarded province of construction unions, are being written into

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new agreements as the unionized trades seek to accommodate to

the changing economic conditions and preserve their work juris


A high volume of construction activity is expected in

FY 1978 and 1979, with a shift from residential to nonresidential


The unionized trades have traditionally exercised

greater job control in the nonresidential area.

These circum

stances may take some of the pressure off the unions to make

further concessions on wages and work rules.

But because con

tractors have been getting used to winning concessions, this

development could be accompanied by an increase in the number

of the industry's work stoppages.

It will certainly lead to

harder bargaining.

To forestall this and to increase cooperation of labor

and management in the industry and preserve existing collective

bargaining relationships, FMCS is encouraging the establishment and continuation of labor-management committees that deal with the special problems of collective bargaining in this industry.

As you know, Executive Order 11491 establishing col

lective bargaining in the federal sector was signed in 1969,

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To make sure we are prepared to meet this need, we

are going to step up the training of our mediators.

We have

brought 36 mediators into Washington this week for a week

long training workshop in federal sector collective bargaining.

We have consulted with employers and unions in the federal

sector to help us design this intensive training course.

Once these mediators go back into the field, they will

be fed a constant stream of specially-prepared information on

developments in the federal sector.

This training process will

be repeated for our entire staff.

The Service's technical assistance program includes a

wide range of preventive-type activities designed to develop

deeper understanding of the collective bargaining process by

both parties prior to the expiration of the contract.

By the

end of the current fiscal year, the Service will have participated

in and closed nearly 1,300 technical assistance (TA) cases covering

all sectors of the economy.

TA activities include assistance in

forming or participating in area and industry labor-management committees, conducting foreman-steward training programs, consultation and liaison work with company and union officials, and conduct of the new and highly successful "Relations by Objectives

(RBO)" program developed by the Service.

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