Monday, July 10, 2017

Ransacking the public sector The assault on government employee unions

Legend has it that elected officials, government administrators, and public service employees generally got along prior to the 1960s. Legend, however, ignores the likes of postal workers, teachers, firefighters, and police officers who began organizing themselves in the late 1800s. The number of public employees who joined unions doubled during the Progressive Era which effectively came to an end with the crushing of the Boston Police Strike in 1919. Forty years later, the anti-union after-effects of that piece of history remained. While some government employees were organized into associations or federations, they did not have a right to bargain collectively, much less a right to strike. Nation-wide membership in these groups was about 500,000.

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