Friends of FMCS History Foundation

The history of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration

Oral History Interviews

The Friends Collection at George Washington Special Collections contains  nearly 200 oral history interviews on cassettes, plus 15 that were recently digitalized by Special Collections. These are available on the seventh floor of the Library on the Washington D.C. main campus of GWU.

The Friends website contains more accessible oral history recordings in both voice and transcript form. Use the search bar widget to query the oral history interviews collections.

1. The interviews of Robert Donnahoo and James MacPherson, two long time FMCS Regional Directors, can be read at ‘Download Publication’ dropdown. At that location, you can also read a ‘transcript’ of Cyrus Ching, first FMCS Director, which was written by Jerome Barrett long after Mr. Ching’s death based on historic records, oral histories conducted by others, and a book by Mr. Ching.  The final product was approved by Ching’s widow.

Download Publication

2. Seven former FMCS Directors and Acting Directors can be heard at the Internet Archive. They are Robert Baker, Bernie DeLury, Wayne Horvitz, Peter Hurtgen, Kay McMurray, Kenneth Moffett, and James Scearce.

 Robert P. Baker was FMCS Acting Director, February 1989 to May 1990. He became a mediator in 1962 in Atlanta, and later was Regional Director.Earlier, he represented a Metal Trades Council and the IUOE.

Bernard E. DeLury was FMCS Director 1990 to 1993. He had been Assistant Secretary of Labor and New York Labor Department of Labor Official. Earlier, he was a journeyman building tradesman.

Wayne L. Horvitz was FMCS Director 1977 to 1980. With extensive labor relations experience in corporations, he later did arbitration and worked with FMCS as Chair of the Retail Food Labor-Management Committee.

Peter Hurtgen was FMCS Director 2002 to 2004. He served on the NLRB from 1997 to 2004, with his final two years as Board Chair. He is the only person to serve both as NLRB Chair and Director of FMCS.

Kay McMurray was FMCS Director 1982 to 1989. He had served as National Mediation Board Member 1972 to 1977. A United Airline pilot, Captain McMurray serviced as Executive Administrator of Airline Pilots Association for 18 years.

Kenneth E. Moffett was Acting Director for one year and briefly as Director 1981 to 1982. He became a mediator in Cleveland in 1963, served as a national trouble shooter, Office of Mediation Director, and Deputy Director.

James F. Scearce was FMCS Director 1976 to 1977, and Deputy Director 1973 to 1976. He served as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Labor Bill Usery, and handled labor relations for NASA and Douglas Aircraft at the Kennedy Space Center.

Use the Internet Archive link below to find the interviews.

3. Eight other interview can be heard from the  Audio Interviews Page. They are Jewel Myers, Nita Niehoff, Peter Nichols, James Chandler, Dan Edwards, C. K. Call, Jack Toner, and Lou Towers.

Jewell Myers worked a secretary in FMCS Arbitration Office beginning in 1964, when annual case-load was 30,000. By date of interview in 1986, the case-load reach 60,000. Ms. Myers eventually became Director of the Arbitration Office.

Nita Niehoff, a trained nurse, worked as a research assistant for her anthropologist husband. Employed by the FMCS Arbitration Office in 1971 as a Research Clerk. After 30 on the job, she knew all of the U.S. arbitrators. Interview 3-3-86.

Henry (Pete) Nichols earned BA from Cornell ILR School, worked as labor relation director for various employers in the West. Joined FMCS October 1961. serving in San Francisco, Denver, Spokane, and Anchorage. Interview 1-11-86.

James Chandler joined FMCS in July 1966. Worked in St. Louis and Houston. Prior experience: 12 years as International Union Rep of Brewery Workers. A great Guitar player and singer, he played at FMCS National Conferences. Interview 8-15-86.

Daniel Edwards worked in Salt Lake City as miners union agent. On a major cooper strike in 1949, he met Cy Ching who mediated the case. Ching urged him to join FMCS. He joined in 1952, assigned to Seattle and later Salt Lake. Then three years as National Office troubleshooter before returning to Salt Lake. Interview 6-13-86.

C.K. Call headed the Arkansas Department of Labor before joining FMCS under Director Cyrus Ching in 1949. Served as Assistant Regional Director and Regional Director in Chicago. He was my boss when I mediated in Milwaukee 1965 to 69. Interview 11-2-85

Jack Toner worked in labor relations for several Federal Agencies, finally NLRB while attended law school. Became NLRB Executive Secretary. Came to FMCS with NLRB Board member Hurtgen as deputy director. Contrasts the two agencies interestingly. Interview 6-15-05

Lou Towers worked in USCS and FMCS National Office helping the remarkable Major Charles Estes, trainer extraordinaire. Interviewed 9-26-88

On Barrett’s computer or on a portable drive are 21 of his recent interviews32 oral histories, and 38 early interviews  he digitalized on to his computer. These interviews will be place on the website when funds are available.

Also available for reading are transcripts of 33 interviews conducted by Barrett in 1986 of Eastern Airlines management representative and the Pilots Union covering mediation work by Bill Usery in the early 1980s.

Please bookmark this page and return to the Internet Archive for additional oral history recordings as they become available.

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