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Event Governance Public Unions

Are Unions Democratic?

Wednesday September 2014


Daniel DiSalvo Assistant Professor, City College Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Introduction: Howard Husock, Vice President, Policy Research, Manhattan Institute

Public employee labor unions are among the most influential institutions in American politics. Setting compensation and determining labor-management relations are among the most important decisions that city and state governments make. As a consequence, public employee unions are deeply involved in democratic governance in the U.S. through collective bargaining and politics. But how democratic are the unions themselves? In his new paper, “Are Unions Democratic?” CUNY political science professor and MI Senior Fellow Daniel DiSalvo finds that internal union election practices are typically hidden from public view, notwithstanding union calls for greater “transparency” in campaign finance and corporate governance. Professor DiSalvo proposes specific reforms to make unions more accountable to their members and transparent to the general public.