Unionization of Municipal Employees

Unionization of Municipal Employees

Unionization of Municipal Employees

Unionization of Municipal Employees

Excerpt

Unionization of municipal employees during the past decade has had an impact of far-reaching significance on city governments. To be sure, unions existed in some cities in one form or another long before 1960, but in recent years they have developed in other cities and have rapidly increased the size of their membership. Moreover, the right to organize and bargain collectively has been recognized by law in many states, placing these unions on a much firmer legal basis than previously.

Since collective bargaining had become the accepted practice of labor relations in private business, government employees argued for its adoption in the public sector. At first, the unions were primarily concerned with wages. More recently, management practices, pension rights, and a wide variety of rules concerning working conditions have been put on the bargaining table. The inclusion of these items in collective bargaining has brought about conflicts in regard to civil service and budgetary procedures. Thus, to an increasing degree, labor has become involved in the management of public services.

In private business there is little doubt as to who represents management, but this determination is much more difficult in the public sector. In many instances top municipal administrators are organizing unions and bargaining for their own salaries and working conditions. Thus the question of who represents the public becomes critical. In some cases where municipal or school-board budgets must be . . .

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