26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Pressure mounts on PS unionism

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Latest data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that public sector union membership continues to far outstrip that of the private sector.

The report indicates that the percentage of unionised Federal public sector employees dipped slightly from 2018 to 2019 while union membership among workers in the 50 States climbed.

Overall, the public sector union membership rate is 33.6 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent for the private sector.

There are just over seven million unionised public sector workers out of a total employee base of 21 million.

President of the National Treasury Employees Union, Tony Reardon (pictured) said Public Servants had an especially strong understanding of the power that came with the ability to bargain collectively.

“Public employees, through their unions, have a long history of defending the nonpartisan merit-based Civil Service system, which ensures Government Agencies are staffed by skilled professionals who have dedicated their careers to public service,” Mr Reardon said.

The annual union membership report for 2019 comes as Public Service unions are adjusting to a Supreme Court ruling that restricts their ability to collect dues from non-members who benefit from union contracts.

Additionally, public sector unions have faced headwinds at the Federal level — many stemming from three Executive Orders signed in May 2018 by President Donald Trump and are just now being put into effect after legal challenges.

Unions say the orders have restricted their abilities to conduct business such as collective bargaining, pursue workplace grievances while on ‘official time’, and access facilities for union business.

Washington, 25 January 2019

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