….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…..
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 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….
Source: Joseph B Rose, Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 58 no. 1, February 2016
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.
Source: Brigham R. Frandsen, ILR Review, Vol. 69 no. 1, January 2016
From the abstract:
Widespread public-sector unionism emerged only in the 1960s, as individual states opened the door to collective bargaining for state and municipal workers. In this study, the author exploits differences in timing of legislative reforms across states to construct estimates of the causal effects of public-sector collective bargaining rights on pay, benefits, and employment for teachers, firefighters, and police. Perhaps surprisingly, estimates that allow for state fixed effects and state-specific trends show little effect on teachers’ pay, benefits, or employment, despite significantly increasing union presence among teachers. For firefighters, the results show a substantial positive effect on wages. For police, the wage effect was more modest but the workweek was significantly shortened.
The theory of the Friedrichs case is that requiring the plaintiffs to pay fair share fees imposes a “severe and ongoing infringement” of their rights to free speech. Their Complaint asserts that each plaintiff “objects to many of the unions’ public policy positions, including positions taken in collective bargaining.” The fair share fees that are at issue in the case do not go to fund the unions’ public policy initiatives. Instead, they only fund activities that are germane to collective bargaining. And because of the way the case has been litigated, the plaintiffs have not identified which specific provisions in their collective bargaining agreements they oppose.
In their Supreme Court brief, the Friedrichs plaintiffs argue that wages and benefits for teachers can be controversial, and they assert that collective bargaining involves matters relating to education policy, but they never assert that they personally oppose their union on any issues addressed by their own collective bargaining agreements. While the brief is full of generalized assertions about collective bargaining agreements, it never addresses any of the specific collective bargaining agreements that apply to the plaintiffs. ….
….The unwillingness of the Friedrichs plaintiffs to identify the specific collective bargaining activities that they find objectionable is at odds with the heated rhetoric in their lawyers’ Supreme Court brief. While their lawyers assert that the Friedrichs plaintiffs are being forced to contribute money “for the propagation of opinions which [they] disbelieve,” in fact, it appears that their agency fees are going to fund negotiation and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements that directly benefit them…..
After provincial bargaining stalled, 400,000 public sector workers across Quebec walked out in October and November on rolling one-day strikes.
The government is proposing pension cuts and only a 3 percent salary increase over five years. Since coming to power in April 2014 it has already begun cuts to services, including slashing health and education funding.
The Common Front, a coalition of Quebec public sector unions, is coordinating the strikes, which include teachers, health care workers, and government employees. Members voted to authorize six days of strikes per union. These began with one-day strikes, staggered by region. The Common Front vowed that if no agreement was reached, all members would strike at the same time December 1-3.
Labor Notes interviewed Benoit Renaud and Philippe de Grosbois, who have both been on strike. Renaud is an adult education teacher in the city of Gatineau and a member of the La Fédération Autonome de L’enseignement. de Grosbois teaches in a pre-college program in Laval and is an executive of his local, which is part of the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.
At the time of the interview, a December general strike was still planned. However, the Common Front recently announced it’s postponing the strike while negotiations continue…..
From the summary:
Unlike many other countries, when the United States enacted its private-sector labor law, the National Labor Relations Act, in 1935, it did not include public employees within the same or similar framework for collective bargaining. Not until the late 1950s and 1960s did state and local governments grapple with a labor law to govern their rapidly growing public-sector labor forces. No state or local government chose to transplant the private-sector model of collective bargaining; instead they adopted some parts of it, chose to create no bargaining framework at all, or prohibited collective bargaining. This paper describes the rapid growth of labor laws that have enabled public-sector collective bargaining, and examines the effects of various labor law frameworks on public employee wages.
• Only 2 percent of the state and local public-sector workforce in 1960 had the right to bargain collectively. By 2010, that share had grown to 63 percent.
• While early on, many policymakers were concerned about the right to strike, a number of states did eventually extend the right to strike to more than 20 percent of public employees; however, all of these employees are in non–public safety positions. Thus the right to strike has not had catastrophic results in terms of threats to public safety or welfare.
• The right to strike has also not led to massive wage increases: Employees covered by the right to strike earn about 2 percent to 5 percent more than those without it.
• Public safety employees are effectively covered by binding interest arbitration, which has prevented strikes and has resulted in cost-effective and widely accepted settlements by the participants.
• This research finds no wage effect for public employees covered by collective bargaining attributable to binding interest arbitration when compared with mediation.
• Fact-finding, the most widely employed final dispute-resolution procedure, tends to favor the public employer, resulting in significantly lower wages for public employees, in the range of 2 percent to 5 percent less than other dispute resolution procedures.
Union security provisions, which require employees to contribute to the financial support of the union that has the exclusive right to represent them with respect to terms and conditions of employment, vary by state, locality, and various occupations.
• Dues checkoff, which is widespread in the public sector, has a small positive effect on wages, ranging from 0 percent to 3 percent; however, we suspect it has a major effect on union membership.
• Open-shop laws, which prohibit union security agreements, are associated with significantly lower public-employee wages, with estimates ranging from -4 percent to -11 percent, compared with no policy on union security.
• Agency-shop provisions, which require the payment only of a fee narrowly tailored to support a union’s collective bargaining activities, its contract enforcement, and employee grievance processing, are associated with significantly higher wages, ranging from 2 percent to 7 percent for public employees.
In summary, it is difficult to conclude that the relatively small wage effects of collective bargaining have led to serious distortions in the democratic process. Collective bargaining has resulted in higher public-employee wages in the range of 5 percent to 8 percent. There is some indication that collective bargaining has offset employer monopsony power in the public sector (Keefe 2015; Lewin, Kochan, and Keefe 2012), thus not producing excessive or distorted public-employee compensation, and has promoted internal equity (Keefe 2015, forthcoming).
From the abstract:
Federal sector unionism is a paradox. Despite the outlawry of union-security provisions and strikes, sharp limits on the scope of collective bargaining (outside the U.S. Postal Service and airport air traffic controllers), and the absence of card-check certification, federal employees join unions and pay dues. The union membership rate is lower than in state and local governments but considerably higher than in the private sector. Somewhat fewer employee pay dues than are covered by collective agreements but the free-riding effect is smaller than one would expect. The federal sector suggests a model of relatively low-stakes unionism and collective bargaining that perhaps should be considered as an alternative by labor organizations and policymakers. The federal-sector mode may, however, require certain features that are not readily replicable in the private sector: the absence of a right to strike in favor of some measure of interest arbitration as a deadlock-breaking device, an absence of employer opposition, and statutory employment protections.
From the abstract:
District costs for teachers’ health insurance are, on average, higher than employer costs for private-sector professionals. How much of this is attributable to collective bargaining? This paper examines the question using data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the state of Wisconsin. In addition, the impact of collective bargaining on employer costs is decomposed into the impact on total premiums and the employer’s share of those premiums.
The BLS data show that unionization is associated with higher total premiums, higher employer costs, and lower employee contributions in both the public and private sectors. This suggests that the high unionization rate among teachers plays a significant role in districts’ higher average cost. Varying strength of teachers unions across states also helps explain the wide variation in district costs. In states with strong unions, such as Wisconsin, prior to 2011, district insurance costs can be very expensive. It is in those states that the opportunities for district cost reduction are most promising. I examine newly available data from Wisconsin to quantify the impact of that state’s 2011 change in collective bargaining law, Act 10. I find a sharp reduction in district costs from lower-cost policies and higher teacher contributions: 13 to 19 percent in the first year after Act 10, and 18 to 23 percent after the second year, relative to projected district costs.