Much has taken place since the last “Friends” email. A major reorganization and realignment were announced by Acting Director Greg Goldstein and Deputy Director Javier Ramirez on June 10th, 2022.
All field managers positions have been announced and require current managers to reapply for the now reduced number of field manager slots. As you can see many other changes are visible in the above chart.
The reorganization of FMCS is scheduled to be completed by Sunday, September 25, 2022.
SOME SAD NEWS
Tragically another active field mediator, Commissioner Stephen Kessler # 1042 has passed away. He was preceded by the passing of Commissioner Catanzariti in 2020, and Commissioner Brady in 2018, all while still on FMCS rolls.
Here is Commissioner Kessler’s Obituary:
Stephen, 57 of Salinas, CA passed on June 16, 2022, at his home from an aggressive rare neuromuscular disease. His recent diagnosis progressed suddenly, and his loss was unexpected. The family is shocked and deeply saddened.
Stephen was born on March 21, 1965, to Leonard and Celeste Kessler in Grand Rapids Michigan . Stephen loved California and after graduating high school, Stephen moved to California where he attended school and graduated from UCSC. Later he received his law degree from Monterey College of Law. Stephen worked as a Federal Mediator at FMCS for the last 20 years. He loved his job and found joy in finding new ways to incorporate technology and innovative skills in his training.
Stephen also spent time volunteering and coaching for the different sport organizations that his grandchildren were involved with as well as volunteering for polling stations in local elections.
Anyone who knew Stephen, knew that he was brilliant yet humble, had a huge love for his family, wasn’t afraid to be silly and bring humor into life and always remained grateful.
He had an immense passion for sports, in particular those his grandchildren played. He loved watching and coaching them in baseball and was always there to cheer them on.
Stephen was grateful for having a great life and was always looking at ways to give back to the community. He frequently reminded everyone to choose kindness and he personally practiced that every day. Stephen’s positivity was contagious and radiated to everyone around him.
Stephen’s family and friends will miss him more than words can say.
Call for Mediator Class Pictures
We are looking for mediator class pictures for the 2009 through the 1995 class. For some reason these years are not in the NARA archives or in the public affairs office at FMCS. If you have a class picture from that time frame, please send, or scan a copy of the picture and send it to email@example.com. You can mail the picture to Friends of FMCS History Foundation at PO Box 9517, Chesapeake, VA 23321. I will scan it and send it back to you quickly.
Visit to the George Washington University FMCS Archive
I visited the George Washington University Library on July 27th to review the Friends Archive.
I ordered 5 boxes for review from the vast collection of 325 boxes donated by Jerry Barrett, but also spent significant time talking to the archive caretaker about the collection and its future.
He was as interested in the collection as I was since he was not part of GWU when the collection arrived from Jerry. I asked why they accepted the extremely large collection, and his best guess was, “it had some historical value”. The five boxes I reviewed had a mix of items. One had photographs (some of which can be found in the National Archives). Others had files about the FMCS Mediator union organizing effort dating back to 1966. One box had disciplinary actions and reprimands (this should have been red flagged and should not have been made public). Another had various artifacts like a hat from the cool school program and many bags from the various NMLC and National Conferences. Vakil (the archive caretaker) when seeing some of the old stuff, (like the bags and hat) said this has no historical significance or value.
I also contributed to the collection by cutting my finger on broken glass found in the box with the artifacts, so a blood sample from the 19th Director of FMCS can be researched in box 283.
All kidding aside, (my blood was not a joke) the small sample review led to this finding. The stuff Jerry donated does have some significant FMCS historical value, some questionable legal implications (like personnel records), and some stuff of little to no value. I’m pretty sure that the rest of the collection if examined in detail, which you are free to do would lead to the same conclusion.
In my discussion with Vakil I learned that the Teamsters Archives which he leads is housed at GW including a large classroom decorated with Teamsters history and is available for visits and possible new mediator classes to view FMCS and Teamsters history. He said he could also put together a traveling exhibit of FMCS history and label it properly and set it up at the NMLC or other events. He said he had a budget to do things like that and would love to do more with the collection.
I mentioned that the Friends Board discussed the possibility of another location for the collection which might allow for more visibility and access to the collection. (To see the collection currently if you are not a student or faculty member, you must request a box # and wait a week for it to arrive in the reading room at the Gellman Library, show ID, be escorted, and wear a mask to view the items).
I mentioned that Cornell ILR School may have an interest in the collection. He was fine with talking to the ILR folks but did say “we don’t normally give or take from other collections out of professional courtesy”.
Article about the 1966 attempt to organize FMCS Commissioners found in the GW Archives.
2024 NLMC Scheduled
Please visit our website for interesting articles which are updated often. https://www.mediationhistory.org/
Executive Director of “Friends” and 19th Director of FMCS,
Greetings, I hope this reaches you in good health. I also hope 2022 is a year we move in a more positive direction with less news about COVID and more about the good in our world, nation, and, maybe even in our government. Friends of FMCS History Foundation exists to honor a small segment of our government focused on dispute management and resolution. It was developed to highlight the past and celebrate the future of FMCS and its predecessor DOL’s United States Conciliation Service (USCS).
Stepping in to follow Jerry Barrett this year has been both a challenge and an honor. Jerry established the concept of “Friends” well before it became a legally identified tax exempt, nonprofit charitable foundation in 2006. His history is well known, and his passing was a great loss for “Friends”. His passion for “Friends” has roots back to his appointment in 1964.
Jerry Barrett is the 6th from the left in the Class of 1964 picture with then Director Simkin seated third from the right. My class of 1995-1996 class mentor Ken Evans is also in this picture (standing second from right). And in the picture below he is standing in the far-right corner of the 1995-1996 class picture as class mentor.
These pictures are one of many that I have collected through the National Archives and other sources which I hope will be part of a permanent display at FMCS HQ, and on the “Friends” website, of all class pictures of mediators in FMCS history. While I will not emulate Jerry in “climbing into dumpsters” to find FMCS history, I am prepared to help keep his passion and vision for Friends alive.
Step one on that journey is complete, the State Corporation Commission, the IRS, the Bank, the Website, fees and taxes have all been addressed and completed. “Friends” had a total of $3,073.73 in the bank when I agreed to take over this year and I am happy to report that the current total is $3,244.79. This year expenses included new checks ($16.95), State Corporation Commission Fees, Website Fees paid to Systems Management Technology Inc. ($596.79), and PayPal fees ($1.20). Income this year was $786.00 all from donations from 6 individuals including yours truly. See the website for other contributors names CLICK HERE FOR THE WEBSITE.
To reinvigorate “Friends” I will be reaching out to former colleagues to assist me in this volunteer endeavor. Former Deputy Director Gary Hattal, former District Director Cheng and others have agreed to assist me in bringing the website up to current day standards and to connect with our retired FMCS staff. In order to cover costs, we have made it easy to donate to The Friends of FMCS History Foundation through PayPal on the website or to send a check to Friends of FMCS History Foundation, PO Box 9517, Chesapeake, VA 23321. All donations will be used to pay fees associated with the Foundation and expenses related to the upkeep and revisions to the website.
News of Note
FMCS Director Position
Former Director Giacolone retired in January 2021 and was succeeded by Deputy Director (with the duties of Director) Gary Hattal who retired at the end of 2021. The current Acting Director is Gregory Goldstein the Chief Operating Officer since 2018. CLICK HERE for Acting Director Goldstein’s Bio. Commissioner Javier Rameriz has been nominated to be the 20th Director of FMCS. The long process of confirmation is currently underway.
Javier Ramirez was announced by the Biden Administration as the FMCS nominee on June 9th, 2021. He was voted favorably out of the Senate HELP Committee on August 3rd and was placed on the Senate Executive Calendar, No. 300. Unfortunately, since the Senate did not act on the nomination by the end of the session his nomination was sent back to the White House. On January 4th the White House did renominate Javier and sent his nomination to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) on January 13th where he was reported out favorably 17 – 4. His nomination has been sent to the full Senate for consideration once again, No 665. This process of sending back a nomination is not unusual or unprecedented (but very annoying) for FMCS Director nominations.
The White House in an unusual move, announced through the press secretary on December 22, 2021, the following information:
President Biden on Wednesday designated Gregory Goldstein, a career federal employee, to serve as acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and demanded that the Senate act to confirm his nominee to fill the position on a permanent basis.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service steps in to assist unions and management to reach agreement on contracts both in the private sector and in the federal government. When parties move to bring their negotiations before the Federal Service Impasses Panel for resolution, the panel often requires them to seek the aid of the mediation service first.
Biden chose Javier Ramirez for the post in June, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced his nomination to the full Senate by voice vote in August. But since then, there has been no action to grant him a final confirmation vote.
Ramirez joined the agency as a commissioner in 2005, and currently serves as the executive manager of its division of agency initiatives. Prior to joining the agency, he negotiated public sector union contracts.
Until his designation as acting director, Goldstein served as the agency’s chief operating officer. He is a member of the Senior Executive Service. In a statement accompanying his designation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the position needs to be filled immediately to address the growing amount of union activity in both the federal government and the private sector.
“Because of the president’s American Rescue Plan and Build Back Better agenda, our economy has recovered more rapidly than predicted from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn,” Psaki said. “With tighter labor markets and more money in their pockets, workers have greater power to demand their fair share from employers in collective bargaining with unions across the country. These conditions have put a spotlight on the important role of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in facilitating productive collective bargaining relationships and labor-management partnerships.”
In addition to Biden’s efforts to encourage more collaborative labor-management relations at federal agencies, 2021 saw a wellspring of organizing at workplaces across the country, including coal miners in Alabama, and workers at Kellogg’s, John Deere and Frito-Lay all going on high profile strikes. More and more workplaces have seen organization drives, from news organizations like Politico to Starbucks stores in Buffalo, N.Y.
KENNETH ELWOOD MOFFETT
Obituary for Former Director Moffett from Washington Post 11/28/21
Ken Moffett, a former federal mediator, and union leader, died on November 19, 2021, of natural causes. He is survived by his wife of 24-years Mary (Taddeo) Moffett; his children, Laura Tornell, Olney, Maryland, Ken Jr., Alexandria, VA and John (Antioch, CA); three grandchildren (Brian, Scott and Melanie) and three great-grandchildren (Isabella, Oliver and Eva)
Published by The Washington Post on Nov. 28, 2021.
From the FMCS Website:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) was saddened to learn of the passing of former FMCS Director Arthur F. Rosenfeld on May 16, 2020. Arthur died peacefully at home surrounded by family.
Former FMCS Director Arthur Rosenfeld
A native of Allentown, Pa., Arthur’s “labor of love” was his “love of labor law,” where he established himself deeply in a variety of labor law roles. He earned his law degree from Villanova University School of Law in 1979 and was subsequently admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and later became a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and several other federal courts. He began his career in Washington as a labor attorney with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1979 and from there practiced labor law in the Washington, D.C. office of Hansell & Post from 1984-1986.
Arthur served as the 16th FMCS Director from 2006-2009. He distinguished himself during his FMCS tenure by, among other things, helping to end a 52-day national strike by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers against the Boeing Company in 2008. Most recently, Arthur served as the Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) since 2018. His prior government service included serving as the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board from 2001-2006, serving as Senior Labor Counsel of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and worked at DOL in a number of capacities, including Counsel for Regulations in the Division of Employee Benefits, Special Assistant to the Solicitor of Labor, and Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor.
Arthur will be fondly remembered for his commitment to FMCS and his dedication in federal service to our Nation. He will be missed, and those at FMCS extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Retirements, Resignations and Passing’s
Two members of FMCS passed during the last two years while employed, Commissioner Carol Catanzariti, and Budget and Finance HQ veteran Amanda Cobb.
Carol Jeanne Catanzariti
Carol Jeanne Catanzariti 74, of Honolulu, passed away October 14, 2020. Born August 4, 1946, in New York. Syracuse University alumna.
Her careers spanned from registered nurse in Colorado to law school at University of Hawaii; Legislative Aide to Council Chair Gary Gill; labor attorney for the Hawaii Nurses Association; and finally Federal Mediator. Her personality enabled her to bring parties together. She loved participating in the Honolulu Friends Meeting.
Carol’s short stories and poems won awards and publication, inspiring other writers through organizing collaborative readings.
Her proudest moments were spent doting on her grandchildren.
She is survived by daughter, Kymmie (Jared), and four grandchildren.
Amanda S. Cobb
Obituary published by The Washington Post on Mar. 28, 2021.
On Monday, March 22, 2021, God called home Amanda Shenell Cobb. She was born May 14, 1963. She leaves to mourn, her beloved husband, Melvin S. Cobb, son, James S. Cobb, mother, Eleanor White, father, George White, two brothers, Andrew J. White and Kenneth White, a half-sister, Diane Quirley and a host of relatives and friends. Amanda was preceded in death by her brother, George A. White.
Retirements 2021 and Resignations
#953 Richard Giacolone, Director
#946 Gary Hattal, Deputy Director
#973 Peter Cheng, District Director
#1090 Commissioner Ken Armes, #1134 Commissioner Daniel Brahaney, , #1117 Commissioner Matt Cocroft, , #1160 Commissioner Richard Cunningham, #1182 Commissioner Kevin Farrell, #909 Commissioner Hank Groton, # 974 Commissioner Joe Mansolillo, # 1153 Commissioner Greg Tipton, #1197 Emil Totonchi, #1185 Randy Larson, HQ Margaret Hammonds
Please send this email to as many former, and current FMCS employees and supporters you believe that might have interest in “Friends”, so we can grow the “Friends” network (Please use private email address and not .gov addresses). We have great plans for growing the Friends network including the possibility of a retiree’s event once the COVID situation allows.
Current FMCS Coverage Map
Friends of FMCS History Foundation