Allison Beck is a prominent labor lawyer, mediator, and labor-management relations advisor, who served as Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) until January 2017. Appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate, she was the first woman to serve in this capacity since the Agency’s founding in 1947. Ms. Beck also served for more than four years as FMCS’s Acting Director and Deputy Director for National and International Programs.
As FMCS Director, Ms. Beck launched numerous initiatives to address the significant challenges facing companies, workers, and the government agencies the Agency serves. She led the first in-depth examination of the Agency’s structure and services in more than 20 years and, under her direction, FMCS embraced a culture of innovation and excellence to meet the evolving needs of its stakeholders using 21st century technologies and the latest research in best conflict resolution practices. Her extensive focus on outreach provided much needed support to the labor-management community as they grappled with a rapidly transitioning economy — what some are calling the “4th Industrial Revolution.” A major accomplishment in this area was the return of the FMCS’s highly acclaimed, biennial national labor-management conference, not held for nearly a decade. In August, 2016, FMCS presented The Future@Work: Trends, Tools, and Techniques for Partnering in the New Economy to a sold out crowd of more than 1000 labor-management professionals. Over two and half days, participants were able to select from more than 70 workshops, panel discussions, and plenary sessions to help them address labor-relations challenges in the changing workplace, hiring and retaining new generations of workers, artificial intelligence and robotics, rapidly advancing platform-based work models, and contingent work.
Ms. Beck’s labor relations and dispute resolution experience includes mediating high profile collective bargaining disputes across a variety of industries and occupations, including telecommunications, healthcare, utilities, government, and the performing arts. She also revamped the delivery of FMCS conflict resolution services to government under the Administrative Dispute Resolution and Negotiated Rulemaking Acts and oversaw the growth of the Agency’s international labor relations and conflict resolution training services. Working with the U.S. Departments of State and Labor, Ms. Beck expanded services to help emerging market economies achieve workplace stability and, thus, greater opportunities for investment and growth, while leveling the playing field for U.S. businesses and workers by raising labor standards overseas in over 15 countries including Burma, Morocco, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, South Africa, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Honduras.
Prior to her work at FMCS, Ms. Beck had an extensive career in the field of labor law and labor-management relations. For 20 years, she served as General Counsel for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM), where she supervised the legal affairs of a large, international labor union, became well-versed in all aspects of labor and employment law, and litigated cases in Federal court and before government labor agencies.
Ms. Beck began her legal career as an appellate court attorney in the Enforcement Division of the National Labor Relations Board. While attending law school at night, she served as a legislative aide on veterans’ employment issues to Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) and the U.S. Senate Labor Committee. Over the course of her career, she has served on the boards of non-profit organizations and has been a frequent speaker at labor-management, bar association, and other conferences. Ms. Beck is the Jean McKelvey Neutral-In-Residence for the 2016-2017 academic year at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and she is the recipient of the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s 2016 Outstanding Practitioner Award.