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NCJ Number: 90531 Find in a Library
Title: Collective Bargaining and Labor Unrest (From New Perspectives on Prisons and Imprisonment, P 142-159, 1983, by James B Jacobs - See NCJ-90529)
Author(s): J B Jacobs; L Zimmer
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Cornell University Press
Ithaca, NY 14851
Sale Source: Cornell University Press
512 E. State Street
P.O. Box 250
Ithaca, NY 14851
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Collective bargaining in the prison system may create opportunities for increased communication between labor and management, but it has limits, as shown by the history of the 1979 strike by the prison guards in New York State.
Abstract: The strike, which involved about 7,000 prison guards, was the largest and most dramatic guard strike in American history. It lasted 17 days. The strike arose ultimately from strains within the correctional guard's role and from an increasing division of interest between the rank and file and top departmental administrators. The strike resulted in a state of emergency that required deployment of the National Guard. Ultimately, with crucial assistance from the courts in the form of financial penalties, State officials were able to impose their contract terms. However, the State's use of the antistrike penalties may have intensified the resentments that caused the strike. Collective bargaining was not well suited for solving the emotional and deep-seated discontents that caused the strike. Trying to use collective bargaining to solve all personnel problems may undermine its potential to do what it can do best, which is to negotiate wages and benefits and solve clear grievances over contract administration. Prison officials need to create new mechanisms for dealing with guards' dissatisfactions and should emphasize professionalism among correctional staff. Other issues needing attention are racial tensions among correctional staff and the need for more constructive labor-management relations. The union must also reduce worker expectations about the potential of collective bargaining.
Index Term(s): Corrections unions; Labor relations; New York; Strikes
Note: Reprinted and revised from Industrial and Labor Relations Review, V 34, N 4 (July 1981), P 531-544.
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