Public sector labour relations in the United States: Austerity, politics and policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public sector unions around the world are under threat from political forces. Combined, the financial crisis and austerity measures have challenged public sector unions' legitimacy. In the U.S., the postrecession assault on public sector unions is rooted in political ideology, with not only a widening polarization along the liberal-conservative spectrum playing a key role, but cultural cognition and economic downturn, too. This research provides a comparative historical analysis of changes in public sector collective bargaining rights at state and local levels in 50 states. The article describes the variations in public sector industrial relations at the state and local levels in the short and medium term. It also proposes a theoretical model to explain similar and diverging patterns which can be observed across the states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-471
Number of pages22
JournalIndustrielle Beziehungen
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Austerity
  • Public sector labour relations
  • Regional differences
  • United States


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