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JOB ACTION. The temporary stoppage of work or concerted activity by employees in order to express dissatisfaction with management practices (see strike). Although most often associated with the collective bargaining process, it can also occur when collective bargaining is not sanctioned and can involve nonunion employees (see collective bargaining). The strike is considered to be the ultimate form of job action.
With the emergence of union activity in the public sector, the debate over the right of government employees to withhold their services became an issue. One of the early strong arguments against allowing the public sector worker to collectively bargain was based on the right to strike. The labor relations model established in the National Labor Relations Act specifically gave private sector workers the right to strike as a way of balancing the power between management and unions. The withholding of labor is a strong economic weapon that can be used to bring closure to labor disputes. In the public sector, a far different environment exists.
The illegality of the strike in the public sector is based on the issues of governmental sovereignty, essentiality of services, and the monopolistic nature of public employers. The reality of striking in the public sector is that it becomes a political weapon, which often creates a backlash for the union and thus exacerbates the situation. A good example of this is the 1981 strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) that ended with the firing of many of the people who took part and the decertification of the union.
As a result of the illegality and sometimes ineffectiveness of public sector strikes, workers have developed more creative means to force management to come to terms. Job actions for government workers are tailored to their specific occupations. Police contract "blue flu"; medical personnel admit large numbers to hospitals while cutting down on discharges, thus overloading the system; firefighters refuse to do hazard inspections, thus jeopardizing federal monies; and teachers are overcome by strange illnesses on days when the substitute pool is depleted. Work slowdowns can also occur without employees losing any days of work. To accomplish this, government workers pay attention to every single rule, thus causing delays in the implementation of policy. Job actions can also be as innocuous as informational picketing or tying up an elected board's time with numerous speeches or points of order during meetings.
Job action strategies by workers have become more creative as they perceive a narrowing of options. Whether it is a concerted activity or strike, workers in both sectors use job actions to try to bring attention to workplace issues that they feel are not being addressed by management. In the private sector, this can be done using economic pressure by withholding labor. In the public sector, more creative means are used in order to bring political pressure on the decisionmakers.
SHERRY S. DICKERSON
Kearney, Richard C., 1992. Labor Relations in the Public Sector, 2nd ed. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Piskulich, John P., 1991. Collective Bargaining in State and Local Government. New York: Prager.
Rabin, Jack et al., eds., 1994. Handbook of Public Sector Labor Relations. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Riccucci, Norma M., 1990. Women, Minorities, and Unions in the Public Sector. New York: Greenwood Press.
JOB ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION. Techniques used to determine the worth, primarily in terms of salary, of a particular position to the organization. As such, job analysis and evaluation focuses on the position rather than the performance of the incumbent who performs actual job duties and responsibilities.
The concept of job evaluation, a term of relatively recent usage, first developed as the position classification movement in the early part of the twentieth century. Many writers now use the terms "position or job classification" and "job evaluation" interchangeably. Technically, "job analysis and classification," as used herein, refers to the first and second stages of the traditional job evaluation process. However, an examination of traditional job evaluation techniques finds these terms used synonymously.
As so often occurs with traditional approaches, in personnel theory and elsewhere, attacks on job evaluation methodologies have been leveled under the twin banners of innovation and reform. The 1993 Report of the National Performance Review, chaired by Vice President Al Gore, urged policymakers to "dramatically simplify the