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Collective Bargaining and Public Sector Supervisors: A Trend toward Exclusion?

Joel M. Douglas
Public Administration Review
Vol. 47, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1987), pp. 485-497
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/975890
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/975890
Page Count: 13
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Collective Bargaining and Public Sector Supervisors: A Trend toward Exclusion?
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Abstract

The question of collective bargaining rights for public sector supervisors (PSS) remains a fundamental policy issue in public personnel management. Some argue that PSS are "middle management" in title only and should be granted full bargaining rights. Others claim that, in order to improve public management, a clearly defined supervisory class is necessary, one that is not eligible to unionize. This study examines legislative and legal developments with respect to bargaining rights for PSS. A content analysis of all state public sector collective bargaining statutes in the United States and significant case law and related decisions of courts and administrative agencies was conducted. Four models emerged concerning the statutory treatment and framework for PSS bargaining. PSS were either: (1) excluded from coverage without any reference to particular job title, (2) excluded from coverage based on job title, (3) placed in autonomous supervisory units or, (4) allowed to bargain with rank-and-file employees in mixed units. Of the 88 statutes identified for analysis, 27% provide for PSS exclusion, 30% require separate supervisory unions, and 43% permit inclusion in mixed units. When measured from a longitudinal viewpoint a modest trend toward the exclusion of PSS from the right to bargain collectively is noted.

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