The Crisis of Public Sector Unionism

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
12:30 - 2:00 pm
Public Affairs 5391

Presented by David Lewin, UC Los Angeles Anderson School of Management

Discussant: Julie Butcher, SEIU Local 721


About the Talk:

Unionism and collective bargaining among U.S. state and local government employees are being widely debated, and some of these governments have sharply reduced or eliminated public employee unionism and bargaining rights. Such actions are based on a belief that fiscal adversity facing state and local governments stems mainly from the over-compensation of public employees that has ostensibly resulted from unionism, bargaining and supportive legislation enacted decades earlier. These changes, however, are being made with little or no consideration of empirical evidence about public-private sector pay and benefit relationships, the effects of unions on state and local government employee pay, the effectiveness of employment dispute resolution procedures, including arbitration, and the ability of state and local government labor and management to effectively combat fiscal adversity and enhance organizational performance. In this presentation, Professor Lewin will provide new evidence showing that, on balance, state and local government employees are undercompensated relative to their private sector counterparts, and that the effects of unions on compensation are considerably smaller in state and local government than in the private sector. Further, available evidence indicates that state and local government employment dispute resolution procedures work reasonably well based on process and outcome assessments, and that labor and management in these governments can use mutual gains negotiations to benefit not just themselves but citizens and communities more broadly. Finally, he will propose a research agenda for a new generation of scholars so that they, like their predecessors, can influence policy makers in making high stakes decisions about state and local government unionism and collective bargaining.

About the Speakers:


David Lewin

David Lewin, Ph.D., is the Neil H. Jacoby Professor of Management, Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. A specialist in human resource management and industrial relations, Professor Lewin has published 20 books and more than 150 articles. Among his books are The Modern Grievance Procedure in the United States; International Perspectives and Challenges in Human Resource Management; Human Resource Management: An Economic Approach; The Human Resource Management Handbook; Contemporary Issues in Employment Relations; Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Volume 20; and The Oxford Handbook of Participation in Organizations. Prior to joining UCLA, he served as Professor, Director of the Ph.D. Program, and Director of the Human Resources Research Center at the Columbia University Business School. He is the immediate past President of the national Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA).

Julie Butcher Julie Butcher is a local labor leader with over 25 years of union, political, & community organizing experience.  She is currently the SEIU 721 Inland Area's Regional Director.  For more information, click here.


This event is cosponsored by the UCLA Anderson Management and Organizations Area