Labor Relations System

Labor Relations System

Labor Relations System 

Labor Relations System 

Public and Private Sector in the Labor Relations System

While their techniques are basically similar, public and private unions serve different sectors of the economy. Employees in the private sector generally work for corporations or non-profit organizations. Employers in the public sector recruit people to carry out official responsibilities and provide public services such as law enforcement, public education, and public safety (Raines, 2019). Because public sector employers are government entities, the constitution provides some rights to public employees that private sector employees do not have. However, some public sector employees’ rights, including union activity and speech, are curtailed in order for government agencies to execute their responsibilities and because these personnel frequently hold positions of trust in society.

Labor Relations System

The rates of membership in private and public unions are perhaps the most measurable difference between the two. Private membership rates peaked in the 1940s, when around 33.9 percent of all private sector employees were unionized (Glass, 2019). During the golden years of private unionization, public union membership was low, with only 9.8 percent. Today, though, those figures are nearly reversed. According to research, public union membership is around 34.4 percent; public unions represent 27.4 percent of local government employees, 29.6 percent of state employees, and 40.3 percent of federal employees (Glass, 2019). In comparison, private unions now represent only 6.4 percent of private sector workers. Despite disparities in membership rates, private unions still have a modest advantage in total member count (7.4 million) over public unions (7.1 million) (Glass, 2019).

There are a number of factors that separate the public and private sectors of the labour relations system. For example, Collective bargaining exists in the public sector, which is anti-democratic in comparison to the private sector, which allows for leveraging unions with the employer (Mareschal, 2017). This is because some employees in the private sector are realistic about the danger of the industry going bankrupt. Public sector labour relations also use political basis in negotiating, whereas private sector labour relations focus on economic factors. Unions in the public sector should develop a communication strategy with their employers that is directed at their interests but is not political in nature (Loy, 2017). 

Public and private unions also differ in terms of who they deal with and who is affected by their negotiation. Because their employment is government-funded, public unions negotiate pay and employment terms with state and municipal legislators, which may create a conflict of interest. The legislation permits public sector unions to donate to and campaign for the election of such parliamentarians. Many governments and municipalities, as well as private-sector plans, have financial shortfalls for public-sector pension and health-care programs. The distinction is that the taxpayers who lawmakers represent are the same people who approve collective bargaining agreements.

Labor Relations System

Moving from one job to another, fluidity, in the private sector provides for more mobility (Alford & Greve, 2017). Furthermore, for those employees who remain inside the same firm, it is considerably simpler to swiftly advance up within the organization because these decisions are decided within the company rather than relying on central rules and regulations imposed by the government. Furthermore, those working in the public sector will have more freedom in receiving a salary raise, with firms able to grant regular pay raises if an employee adequately meets his or her duties (Northwest Legal Advocate, 2017). There is also more diversity in prospective job descriptions in the private sector, whereas governmental companies have a limited number of jobs to fill. The public sector should follow in this aspect of fluidity and especially for city government workers. This allows for fluidity and especially when changing departments and sectors. 


Alford, J., & Greve, C. (2017). Strategy in the Public and Private Sectors: Similarities, Differences and Changes. Administrative sciences, 1-3.

Glass, J. (2019, January 29). Labor Relations in The Public Sector. Retrieved from F&H Solutions Group:

Loy, B. (2017, June 4). Comparing Public & Private Sector Bargaining. Retrieved from Study:

Mareschal, P. M. (2017). Public Sector Labour Relations in the United States: Austerity, Politics and Policy. 451-453.

Northwest Legal Advocate. (2017, August 29). Private vs. Public: What Are Your Employee Rights? Retrieved from Northwest Legal Advocates:

Raines, C. (2019, March 06). Private Sector vs. Public Sector Employee Rights . Retrieved from Chron.:


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