New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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The public sector employer has an interest in maintaining uniform terms and conditions for similarly-situated employees. There are essentially two approaches open to the employer for setting these terms. One is unilateral management determination, perhaps with the help of a sophisticated human resources office. The second approach is to develop these terms in consultation with the affected employees. The latter is best accomplished when employees feel they can identify their preferences and concerns without fear of retaliation. This collective employee voice function requires independent employee organization.

On the question of funding for such organizations, if management or the state otherwise funds the organization, it may lack credibility with the affected employees and not be able to perform well the desired voice function. Such an organization may be rightly perceived by the employees as a unit of management. The alternative means of funding is self-funding, where the affected employees absorb the costs of their representation.

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unions, public sector, dues, collective action, horizontal equity, collective bargaining, human resources