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The history of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration

David L. Cole: FMCS Director Plus Much More

Before his term as FMCS Director ended, Cyus Ching and John Steelman, Assistant to the President, urged President Truman to appoint David Cole FMCS Director. Truman did appoint him on 10-1-52. Cole was not confirmed by the Senate, and left the Directorship after six months because incoming President Eisenhower appointed Whitney McCoy, who is discussed in a post labeled “McCoy Lost His Job.”

Before and after serving as Director, Cole had a remarkable national career as a labor-management neutral. He was a nationally known arbitrator, a founding Member of the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1949, and served a term as NAA president in 1951-52. He was often selected by Presidents to assist in resolving major national industry disputes. His first appointment in 1944 by President Roosevelt involved Bethlehem Steel and the United Steelworkers Union.

During his career, Cole served at the pleasure of six presidents on such national labor disputes. They included Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford.

Cole graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He learned labor-management relations from his father who was a silk manufacturer in New Jersey during the period when that industry was become unionized.

In addition to a very busy arbitration practice, Cole once served as Chair of the New Jersey Mediation Board involving both public and private sector labor disputes.

See “David L. Cole Remembrance – May 2009” on my website at Documents – FMCS Papers. This was written by George Larney who worked as Cole’s assistant when Cole headed the National Commission For Industrial Peace, established by President Nixon”s Executive Order on April 4, 1973. The Commission was tasked with making a report and recommendation on how to establish industrial peace.

George Larney’s Remembrance is a fond and respectful remembering of an outstanding labor-management dispute resolver.

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