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Event Governance Public Unions

Are Public Sector Unions Constitutional?

Wednesday February 2023


Philip K. Howard Founder and Chair of Common Good and senior counsel at Covington & Burling

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once wrote, “all government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” Today, collective bargaining agreements on behalf of public sector union employees are regularly negotiated across professions such as teaching, law enforcement, and civil service. How does public sector unionization affect the oversight responsibilities and mandates of mayors, governors, and other elected officials? What does the Constitution say about public collective bargaining and union political activity?

On February 1, Manhattan Institute held a roundtable discussion with Philip Howard, lawyer, author of several books, and chair of Common Good. Howard will discuss the history of public sector unionization in America, the constitutionality of public employee collective bargaining, and how to restore the democratic process and accountability in state and local governments.