PA725 Fall 2010
Question 1 – What does this case study show about the current strengths and weaknesses of public
sector collective bargaining as a public personnel system?
Question 4 – Is there anything else you could have done to handle this situation better, or were you
simply a victim of bad timing and corruption in the county sheriff’s department?
Referenced throughout case: Klinger, D., Nalbandian, J., & Llorens, J. (2010).
Public personnel management: contexts and strategies(6thed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Good Management or Bargaining in Bad Faith”
examples of how different collective
bargaining groups may or may not have much power in the public sector.
Collective bargaining groups
use techniques to represent employees in negotiating with management on salary and benefits. The
power of each bargaining unit will vary by union type and by locale. Political power and potential for
outsourcing the union’s jobs are two of the main factors that explain the power or strength of a particular union
as is seen in this case study. One of the strengths of public sector unions is that the jobs to be negotiated
generally need to be filled locally. This is one reason that the public sector still has a rather large percentage of its employees participating in unions. Approximately 45% of local government jobs are covered by collective
bargaining. Public sector collective bargaining is still strong when positions are hard to ship overseas, contract
out, or outsource in some other way. This case presents that fact clearly. Where collective bargaining shows
signs of weakness is in jobs that can easily be outsourced in the private sector, such as the solid wast
e and public works employees in this case. The public would not notice if those positions were replaced by private
sector contracts. In fact, public opinion would probably favor this shift to private management, as they would
assume this shift would bring a cost savings for taxpayers. These are the types of jobs that the public would
most likely prefer to have privatized due to the general opinion that privatization allows for more competition,
which makes the service provision cheaper and potentially higher quality.