The History of Public Sector Unions Term Paper by scribbler

The History of Public Sector Unions
A review of the history of public sector unions from their founding until today.
# 153064 | 1,750 words | 5 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on May 02, 2013 in Labor Studies (General)

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The paper outlines the history of public sector unions from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1881 to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in 1932. The paper looks at the labor acts in the 1930s, 1940s, 1960s and 1970s and relates that during the 1960s and 1970s, public sector unions grew dramatically and membership soared. The paper discusses how today, many are angry that public sector unions promote higher wages for government workers when they already earn more than those in the private sector, and so there is increasing pressure for unions to make concessions and reduce wages. The paper argues that to survive, public sector unions need to become more attractive to a larger group of public employees, and that means creating a strong, unified front that represents employees' needs and wants.

History of Public Sector Unions
The Very First Public Sector Unions
Public Sector Unionization in the 1930s
Labor Acts in the 1930s and 40s
Labor Acts of the 1960s
Public Sector Salaries
The Push against Public Unions

From the Paper:

"When trade unions first formed in the late nineteenth century, working conditions were very different than they are today, and that is one reason the unions formed in the first place. Working conditions were often harsh and unsafe. For example, sweatshops existed in many industries, such as the garment industry, where employers forced workers to work in the worst conditions, often locked in buildings, for long hours, without breaks or safety standards. A famously tragic example is the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911. Two-hundred-seventy-five women worked in the factory. They were just leaving the factory on the night of March 25 when a fire broke out. Many of the exit doors were locked, (keeping the workers trapped inside), and many other doors opened inward, so the crush of people trying to escape would not allow them to open. Fire escapes collapsed when the girls tried to use them, and working girls as young as thirteen perished in the fire. In all, 146 women died in the fire, in the aftermath, the working conditions in the factory came to be known, and the owners of the factory faced trial, but were eventually acquitted. However, the fire led to an increased call out for labor unions to oversee working conditions, hours, and safety standards, along with higher wages that were fair and viable (Yaz). Labor unions began to grow after the fire, and they continued to grow for decades."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Adler, J. (2006). The past as prologue? A brief history of the labor movement in the United States. Public Personnel Management, 35(4), 311+.
  • Brown, K.C. (2010). Public-sector unions. Retrieved 7 Dec. 2010 from the Monthly Web site:
  • Edwards, C. (2010). Public sector unions and the rising costs of employee compensation. The Cato Journal, 30(1), 87
  • Reynolds, M. (2009). A history of labor unions from colonial times to 2009. Retrieved 7 Dec. 2010 from the Web site:
  • Yaz, G. (2010). The Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911. Retrieved 7 Dec. 2010 from the University of California at Northridge Web site:

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The History of Public Sector Unions (2013, May 02) Retrieved March 05, 2024, from

MLA Format

"The History of Public Sector Unions" 02 May 2013. Web. 05 March. 2024. <>