For years municipal employees' unions have struggled to stand as equals beside their brother unions in private industry. Periodically, they have ascended many rungs in labor's ladder. However, in many instances their progress has been blocked, not by the municipal government but by courts, who, after considering all the factors involved, not only believed that it was in the public's best interests to have municipal employees join a less powerful union but also outlined the power of the municipality in dealing with the union.
At the present time, the court, the union and the municipality appear lost in a maze. The court is bound to an established interpretation of the law by years of precedent and must apply that interpretation to municipal and union activity. The union is obligated to its members and, therefore, must present their requests until the municipality will seriously consider them; and the municipality, while recognizing and often sympathetic toward their requests, is unable to help-the shackles of judicial decisions restraining them.
A few courts and legislatures are beginning to remove the shackles, thereby enabling municipalities to reach out and help the unions in their climb to maturity. This legal activity, although it is and will continue causing indecision in the area of collective bargaining, is removing some of the stiff resistance that has been blocking the rise of municipal labor.
Frank A. Mysliwiec,
Municipal Employees' Unions: The Climb up Labor's Ladder,
Duq. L. Rev.
Available at: https://dsc.duq.edu/dlr/vol4/iss1/13