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Week 3 discussion 2

After reading the Dorfman article, “Public Pensions are Still Marching to Their Death”, respond to the following questions:

  • What are the political reasons public pensions are underfunded?
  • If the pension problem is political, what steps would have to occur to remedy the problem? Do you think such a remedy will ever take place?
  • If you do not see a remedy for the situation, what do you predict will happen to public pensions in the future?

Present your views in approximately 250

words in your initial discussion post. Respond to at least two of your peers’ posts. Utilize the course text, weekly lecture, and at least one other scholarly source. Remember to properly cite your sources.

Please use this source with one additional and also use the weekly lecture

Seaquist, G. (2015). Employee and labor relations: A practical guide. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education.

  • Chapter 5: The Rights of Employees Under the National Labor Relations Act
  • Chapter 6: Public Sector Unions

Week Three Lecture

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This week our course explores how labor relations works in the contemporary workplace. That specifically includes examining how employer, employee, and labor union interact to create a well-functioning workplace wherein workers’ right are protected, labor unions are allowed to engage in protected concerted activity, and employers are able to carry out the mission and vision of their organizations…or not. If each actor in this situation does not take appropriate responsibility for working well together, the costs are high, especially in an increasingly competitive global environment where other organizations are eager to increase their market share.

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Chapter 5 of the Seaquist (2015) text focuses on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal organization with regional branches that exists to enforce the rights of workers (both union and non-union), labor organizations, and employers in conjunction with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB enforces workers’ rights to 1) self-organize as in joining, forming or engaging in union activities such as boycotts or strikes intended to improve working conditions; 2) bargain collectively, as in regularly participating in union negotiations, or; 3) refrain from engaging in labor unions – such as not being forced to engage in the union if one opts out. As you will see, NLRB charges can be filed against either labor organization or employer – or both. Chapter 5 provides a solid overview of the rights and responsibilities of each of the actors involved and how their work together in protected concerted activity otherwise known as employee-labor relations can benefit all of them.

Chapter 6 of the course text examines the role of employee labor relations in the public sector. Public sector unions differ from those in the private sector in various ways including, but not limited to, freedom from competing with market forces. However, as you will learn, public union contracts have long and short term economic and political impacts beyond benefits to members of their respective organizations and occupations. This is an increasingly important topic in the 21st century as various levels of government attempt to exercise fiscal and social responsibility while honoring past and existing agreements that have serious impacts on communities and the people who live in them, in addition to the union members in occupations that serve those communities. Ethics and accountability are vital considerations for all actors in these negotiations as they often affect essential occupations such as many in education and public safety. Notably, Chapter 6 ends with an eye toward the future of these unions and it leads us into practical applications in future weeks of our course.

image of teacher in classroom

Recommended Resources

Anonymous (2011, January 6). (Government) workers of the world unite! The Economist. Retrieved from

Block, M. (2011, March 2). Discussing challenges with public sector unions. NPR. Retrieved from…

Eidelson, J. (2014, June 30). Supreme court ruling chips away at public-sector unions. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from…

International Association of Fire Fighters. (

International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers. (

National Association of Letter Carriers. (

National Association of Police Organizations. (

National Education Association. (

National Labor Relations Board. (

US Dept. of Labor. (2014, January 24). Union members 2013. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from

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