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Resolutions & Amendments

26th International Convention - San Francisco, CA (1984)

Collective Bargaining Legislation

Resolution No. 62
26th International Convention
June 18-22, 1984
San Francisco, CA


The basic rights and protections gained by private sector workers under the National Labor Relations Act almost fifty years ago are still denied to a large number of state and local government employees; and


An irrational patchwork of state laws, local ordinances and Executive Orders characterize public sector labor relations in 1984. There is a marked absence of equitable and uniform standards among public jurisdictions. Moreover, no state law grants public employees rights equal to those enjoyed by private sector workers under the National Labor Relations Act; and


Only 22 states have comprehensive laws mandating broad scope collective bargaining on wages, hours and conditions of employment for state and local government employees. Legislation in 18 states covers some public workers, such as local government employees only, or educational employees only, or police and fire only. There is no bargaining legislation whatsoever in 10 states; and


Most bargaining laws have at least some inequitable features not found in the National Labor Relations Act. No two state laws are the same. Several states have more than one law covering public employees. One state, for example, has no less than five public sector bargaining laws, each somewhat different; and


AFSCME has advocated enactment of federal legislation to establish a rational framework for labor relations in state and local governments. The 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision in National League of Citizens vs. Usery chilled the prospects for enactment of federal legislation, removing the threat which was causing some states to enact laws on their own; and


In 1983 Illinois and Ohio passed comprehensive collective bargaining laws for public employees. These laws provided for collective bargaining over wages, hours, terms and other conditions of employment; the right to negotiate a fair share fee arrangement; and a limited right to strike.


That AFSCME reaffirms its support for federal legislation extending full collective bargaining rights to all state and local government employees. AFSCME call for support from those public employers who recognize the necessity for sound and fair labor relations under law; and


That until such federal legislation is enacted, AFSCME continue to work to achieve legislation giving public sector workers full rights and protections to organize and bargain collectively in individual states and local jurisdictions.


Melvin Amos, President
Darlene Strock, Secretary
AFSCME Council 67
Baltimore, Maryland