How have professional labor mediators been influenced by the dramatic change in the climate of American industrial relations that occurred between the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan? The author has replicated an early 1960s survey of full-time labor mediators employed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and by state labor relations agencies. The results showed that demographic differences between state and federal mediators identified in the 1960s continued into the 1980s. Nonetheless, mediator attitudes converged over the years. Thus environmental and psychological changes appear to have increased similarities among mediators, and agency mediation has become an increasingly professional occupation where newcomers serve an apprenticeship before becoming fully socialized into the occupational point of view.
Ruth F. Necheles-Jansyn (M.S., industrial relations, Rutgers; Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Director of Labor Studies and Professor of History at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. Her preliminary findings were reported in the Proceedings of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution and of the Association of Labor Relations Agencies. She has numerous publications in the field of history.