Minnesota Law Review
The brief history of public sector collective bargaining encompasses two periods of economic extreme. Collective bargaining in the public sector emerged in the 1960's and early 1970's, a period of unprecedented growth in state and local government. With normal economic restraints eased by the growth of state and local budgets, inexperienced public employers frequently offered little resistance to the demands of public sector unions. Beginning in the mid-1970's, however, the economic fortunes of state and local governments suffered a dramatic reversal. Whether viewed as a cause or an effect of the fiscal crisis, taxpayer hostility to ever-increasing budgets accompanied and exacerbated the problem. These financial and political pressures fostered a new aggressiveness among public sector managers, who sought to reduce personnel costs 6 by opposing union demands and attempting to effect retrenchment measures such as reductions-in-force and wage freezes.
Stephen F. Befort, Public Sector Bargaining: Fiscal Crisis and Unilateral Change, 69 Minn. L. Rev. 1221 (1985), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/31.