Category Archives: Collective Bargaining – Public Sector

Everything Passes, Everything Changes: Unionization and Collective Bargaining in Higher Education

Source: William A. Herbert, Jacob Apkarian, Perspectives on Work, 2017

From the abstract:
This article begins with a brief history of unionization and collective bargaining in higher education. It then presents data concerning the recent growth in newly certified collective bargaining representatives at private and public-sector institutions of higher education, particularly among non-tenure track faculty. The data is analyzed in the context of legal decisions concerning employee status and unit composition under applicable federal and state laws. Lastly, the article presents data concerning strike activities on campuses between January 2013 and May 31, 2017.

A Contract Campaign from Virtual to In Their Face

Source: Dave Staiger, Labor Notes, September 1, 2017

When confronted with a concessionary demand at the bargaining table, what if you filled the room with rank-and-file members? What would happen?

Kalamazoo, Michigan, teachers received an urgent message in July from their union’s private Facebook account for members: in bargaining, the district was demanding a pay freeze.

Within an hour teachers began to arrive at negotiations; soon they packed the room and turned the bargaining process on its head. All told, 46 members showed up at the union office on a beautiful summer day. The rapid response dramatically changed the course of bargaining…..

Ohio Teachers Win Back Regular Raises

Source: Myra Warne, Labor Notes, July 27, 2017

In 2014, members of the Maysville Education Association voted to accept a deal that would end our pay freeze, which dated back to 2011, in exchange for replacing our traditional pay scale with a new merit-pay system.

Local union leaders were warned by Ohio Education Association staff that a return to the step-and-ladder system of regular raises might be impossible—or require a strike. But this year, as the money for sweeteners and incentives dried up, a group of members committed to winning back our old pay scale…..

Before the Bargaining Table: How Local 387 made gains for precarious workers

Source: Jordana Feist​, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Tabletalk blog, May 16, 2017

As a researcher, I regularly read the agreements that come into the office. Sometimes, it makes for encouraging reading – like when I read about the changes negotiated in the latest round of bargaining between CUPE Local 387 and the City of New Westminster in BC.

Their new agreement featured a long list of improvements, including:
– Provisions to reduce the use of seasonal workers by converting workers in that classification to regular full-time employees over two years.
– Benefits for all temporary full-time and temporary part-time workers.
– Two new letters of understanding addressing the issues around the auxiliary workforce and continuing the work to convert those positions to regular part-time and regular full-time.
– Benefit improvements and wage increases.

These would be excellent outcomes in any day, but Local 387 achieved all this in a climate where employers are pushing the use of temporary and seasonal workers and trying to restrict their access to health and benefit plans.

How did they get there? ….

Attacks on collective bargaining: Hidden costs, untold consequences for Iowans

Source: Iowa Policy Project, February 2017

From the summary:
…Drastic changes to collective bargaining could be devastating for Iowans. Lawmakers and the public should be aware of serious pitfalls associated with sweeping changes to this long-standing law (Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code) which carry implications for every school district, city, county, and state agency in Iowa. Of primary concern to all Iowans, economic impacts and ripple effects are likely to exacerbate existing trends — low and stagnating wages, growing uncertainty about access to health care, and increasing income inequality — putting many Iowa households on a downward path. These effects are likely to disproportionately harm rural communities and low-income workers, and to threaten the quality of the health care, public safety and public education systems upon which all Iowans depend.

Public employees are a significant share of the Iowa workforce. Of the nearly 1.6 million nonfarm payroll jobs in Iowa, about 1 in 7 jobs — 238,500 — are in state and local government. These workers are important to the state economy, as taxpayers supporting local schools and state and local services, and as consumers supporting local businesses and other private sector jobs. About half of Iowa’s public-sector workers — over 119,000 employees — are in jobs covered by 1,203 different contracts negotiated under Iowa’s current collective bargaining law:
• 34,400 state employees
• 11,595 county employees
• 11,562 city employees
• 56,402 local school employees
• 2,948 area education agency employees
• 2,114 community college employees

Impacts of any sweeping changes to collective bargaining will thus be significant and widespread, holding consequences for local economies, public services, and Iowa’s labor market as a whole….

Collective Bargaining and the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute: Selected Legal Issues

Source: Jon O. Shimabukuro, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R44794, March 21, 2017

Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, commonly referred to as the “Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute” (FSLMRS), recognizes the right of most federal employees to engage in collective bargaining with respect to their conditions of employment. In 2016, 27.4% of all federal employees were members of a union. While the union membership rate for federal workers has declined slightly over the past ten years, it continues to exceed the union membership rate of 6.4% for private-sector employees.Under the FSLMRS, a labor organization becomes the exclusive representative of a collective bargaining unit following a secret ballot election in which a majority of the employees in the unit vote favorably for the union. Once selected, the union is responsible for representing the interests of all employees in the bargaining unit, even if an individual has chosen not to join the union. Unlike organized employees in the private sector, federal employees are prohibited from engaging in a strike. The FSLMRS does not permit the negotiation of matters that are specifically provided for by federal law, such as wages and retirement benefits. However, federal unions have bargained with management over a variety of other subjects, such as the availability of daycare facilities and the allocation of parking spaces. In addition, under the FSLMRS, unions may negotiate for the availability of “official time,” paid time off from assigned government duties to engage in activities related to labor-management relations. The ability to negotiate for official time has been of particular interest to Congress. Legislation that would require the reporting of official time and limit how such time is used has been introduced in the 115th Congress. This report provides background on the FSLMRS and discusses key rights afforded to federal employees and management under the statute. The report also examines the availability of official time, and reviews some of the significant official time cases decided by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), the federal agency that administers the FSLMRS.

Bargaining for the Common Good

Source: Joseph A. McCartin, Dissent, Spring 2016

….Two things made the Minneapolis People’s Congress particularly significant. First, it signaled a deep alignment of community and labor organizations, a potentially potent melding of their interests, organizational energies, and agendas that went well beyond the merely transactional forms of coalition-making that we have often seen between labor and community organizations in the past. Unions did not merely enlist community groups to support their contract campaigns; instead unions and their allies built a common agenda from the ground up. Second, this extraordinary gathering was the most fully articulated example of a growing phenomenon: unions and community partners collaborating to challenge twenty-first century capitalism, reviving democracy and government integrity in the process….. But the Minneapolis gathering was more than simply another iteration of an oft-repeated union tradition. It represented something new, a conscious effort to tie union-community mobilization to the function that lies at the very heart of unionism: collective bargaining. Since the rise of a routinized collective-bargaining regime—first in the 1940s and ’50s in the private sector, and then in the 1960s and ’70s in the public sector—collective bargaining had come to mean a binary negotiation between unionized workers and their direct employers. Although unions repeatedly sought community allies, they never tried to enlist them in a common effort to break out of the employer-union binary and bargain together on behalf of workers and their communities. The Minneapolis effort is a significant step in that direction…..

Monetary Compensation of Full-Time Faculty at American Public Regional Universities: The Impact of Geography and the Existence of Collective Bargaining

Source: Stephen G. Katsinas, Johnson A. Ogun, and Nathaniel J. Bray, Education Policy Center, Research Paper Presented at the 43rd Annual National Conference of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, April 3, 2016

This paper examines monetary compensation of 127,222 full-time faculty employed by the 390 regional universities in the United States who are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Compensation data published by the U.S. Department of Education and organizations concerned with faculty, including the American Association of University Professors and others, typically lump all four-year public university faculty together, ignoring well-known differences in teaching workloads at different types of public four-year universities (four instead of two courses taught each term, etc.). Further, many compensation studies do not examine fringe benefits, which are 330 percent of total monetary compensation. ….. As large numbers of “baby boom” era faculty at regional universities approach retirement, an accurate base-line assessment of total monetary compensation (salaries and fringe benefits) is important. This study examines (1) salaries and fringe benefits, (2) includes the entire universe of U.S. regional universities, (3) examines differences by geographic peer institutional types, and (4) examines if the presence or lack of collective bargaining matters. ….. The differences are even wider when the presence or lack of collective bargaining is considered. Among the 127, 222 full-time faculty at regional universities, 74,468 or 63% worked at the 219 institutions in the 30 states that in 2011 had collective bargaining (as reported in the 2012 Directory of Collective Bargaining published by the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions), while 52,754 or 37% were employed at the 171 regional universities in the 20 states that did not. Full-time faculty at rural, suburban, and urban regional universities with collective bargaining received on average $92,407, $116,353, and $108,399 in total monetary compensation in FY2011; this compared to averages of $82,722, $84,813, and $86,594 at rural, suburban, and urban regional universities without. …..

Collective Bargaining, Irate Taxpayers Drive Public Policy

Source: Minchin Lewis, PA Times Online, December 15, 2015

….Collective bargaining in the public sector brings public employees together with their employers to establish working conditions, usually in formal contracts. In the private sector, such questions are settled by market forces. Employers control capital. Employees control labor. It is not so clear in the public sector with many implications for policy….

Constraints on public sector bargaining in Canada

Source: Joseph B Rose, Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 58 no. 1, February 2016
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From the abstract:
This article examines public sector bargaining in Canada during the consolidation period (1998–2013). The period was associated with economic turbulence (sustained economic growth followed by the global economic crisis), support for neoliberal policies across the entire political spectrum (the adoption of free market policies and austerity budgets) and extensive litigation challenging the constitutionality of legislation restricting collective bargaining rights. To assess the impact of these environmental pressures on relative bargaining power, the study examined selected collective bargaining indicators – union membership, wage settlements and strike activity. Our results indicate that the relative bargaining power of public sector unions was eroded during this period. The article concludes that a period of highly constrained public sector collective bargaining will continue in the future.