Few Public Sector Workers Belong To Union
Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, has developed a ‘Big Labor vs. Taxpayers’ index, looking at issues involving public sector unions in all 50 states. Labor unions were once known for being steelworkers, automakers, and coal miners. Today, they are more likely to be government employees. Over the past couple years as private sector union membership dipped below 7 percent, public sector union members actually began to constitute a majority of all union members for the first time ever.
Here are some numbers and statistics in Mississippi:
Just 4.5 percent of all workers are unionized and just 7.4 percent of public sector workers are. I didn’t look at every state in the nation, but I am almost positive this is the lowest percentage of public sector workers carrying a union card in the country. It is difficult to find many states under 10 percent. In Alabama, nearly 30 percent of public sector workers are unionized for comparison.
When it comes to union activity, there are actually few laws on the books. Mississippi’s status as a right-to-work state is written in the Constitution and teachers are prohibited from striking. That’s about it. There is no ban for other government workers.
There is no public sector collective bargaining, but there is no ban on it. There is no opt-in requirement for using union dues for political activity. There is no secret ballot guarantee and there is no ban on project labor agreements. But again, so few workers are members of public sector unions that none of these issues are really issues.
But Tennessee, also a conservative state, is one where about 17 percent of public workers, mainly teachers, are unionized, has various laws restricting public sector unions. The state has paycheck protection laws, secret ballot protection laws, permits public access to government bargaining sessions, and there is a ban on project labor agreements.