Public Employee, Labor Law, Collective Bargaining, Public Sector, Dispute Resolution, Contract Negotiation


This study examined the legal issues of public employee labor relations in the United States. Included in this study is a review of relevant case law as it pertains to collective bargaining in the public sector. In addition to reviewing the case law, this study researched the statutory language of each state for public sector collective bargaining. The study includes a review, analysis, and summary of the state and federal laws for public sector collective bargaining. The collective bargaining process in the United States is designed to resolve disputes between two parties, the employer and the employee. The resolution of these disputes often depends on the relative bargaining power of each party. The private sector has a collective bargaining process that has been well established since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 and the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947. The federal laws that have been implemented in the last fifty years, to include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, among others, cover the scope of almost all of the private sector collective bargaining (Oberer, 1994). The public sector contains 50 different state laws and several federal laws defining the scope of collective bargaining for public employees. The bargaining process in the public sector takes place in the context of the political arena. This political influence, which is unique in each state and at each level of government, provides additional steps to the bargaining process that further differentiate public sector bargaining from private (Valletta, 1985). This study provides conclusions on certain aspects of public sector collective bargaining that lead to dispute resolution and contract negotiation to include fact-finding procedures, mediation, arbitration, and strike policies, in the current state of the law. Recommendations are made to public officials, policy makers, and other stakeholders for the future of public employee labor relations in the United States.


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Graduation Date





Murray, Kenneth


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)