Comparing public-sector labor legislation in 2021 and 2020
In this week’s edition, we compare legislative activity on public-sector labor issues in the first seven months of 2021 with activity during the same period in 2020.
- Washington is the only state that enacted public-sector labor legislation in the first part of both years.
- Democrats had trifectas in both states that enacted legislation in the first part of 2020. In 2021, four Republican trifecta states and three Democratic trifecta states have enacted legislation. One state with a divided government, Maryland, has enacted two bills.
- Maryland had the most legislative activity across the first seven months of both years.
2021 legislative activity, January through July
In the first seven months of 2021, state legislatures took up 98 bills related to public-sector labor policy, 10 of which have become law.
- Total number of bills introduced or carried over from earlier sessions: 98
- Democratic sponsored bills: 44
- Republican sponsored bills: 44
- Bipartisan or committee bills: 10
- Total number of enacted bills: 10
- Arkansas SB341: This bill prohibits public employee collective bargaining.
- Connecticut SB00908: This bill requires public employers to furnish unions with personal contact information of employees belonging to the bargaining unit the union represents. It also requires employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations.
- Indiana SB0251: This bill establishes that a school employee can leave a union at any time. It also requires an employee to annually authorize any payroll deductions of union dues.
- Maine LD52: This bill allows educational policies related to preparation and planning time and transfer of teachers to be subjects of collective bargaining negotiations.
- Maryland SB138: This bill extens collective bargaining rights to employees of the Baltimore County Public Library.
- Maryland SB556: This bill establishes a separate collective bargaining unit for teachers at the Maryland School for the Deaf.
- Oklahoma HB2747: This bill eliminates the Public Employees Relations Board. It directs municipal public employers to recognize unions as the exclusive bargaining agents for police officers or firefighters upon a majority vote of the members of the bargaining unit.
- Washington SB5133: This bill amends the definition of a “confidential employee” for the purposes of collective bargaining.
- West Virginia HB2009: This bill prohibits state, county, and municipal governments from deducting public union dues from paychecks.
- West Virginia SB11: This bill prohibits public-sector employees from striking.
- States with the most legislative activity:
- Maryland: 10 bills
- Oregon: 7 bills
- Illinois: 5 bills
- Iowa: 5 bills
- Maine: 5 bills
- Massachusetts: 5 bills
- New Jersey: 5 bills
2020 legislative activity, January through July
In the first seven months of 2020, state legislatures took up 99 bills related to public-sector labor policy, three of which became law during that time period.
- Total number of bills introduced or carried over from earlier sessions: 99
- Democratic sponsored bills: 52
- Republican sponsored bills: 34
- Bipartisan or committee bills: 13
- Total number of enacted bills: 3
- Virginia HB582: This bill repealed an existing ban on public employee collective bargaining.
- Virginia SB939: This bill permitted local governments to recognize unions as bargaining agents for public-sector workers.
- Washington HB2017: This bill established collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges.
- States with the most legislative activity:
- Pennsylvania: 10 bills
- Oklahoma: 8 bills
- Washington: 8 bills
- Maryland: 7 bills
- California: 6 bills
- New Hampshire: 6 bills
From January to July 2019, state legislatures took up 101 bills related to public-sector labor policy. Seven of those bills were enacted during that time.
What we’re reading
- Government Executive, “Unions Call on Biden to Name New Labor Board Appointees,” July 26, 2021
- The Hill, “Act 10 benefited education in Wisconsin — and may empower workers elsewhere,” July 23, 2021
- Jacobin, “How Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Paved the Way for Donald Trump’s America,” July 23, 2021
The big picture
Number of relevant bills by state
We are currently tracking 98 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.
Number of relevant bills by current legislative status
Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)
Recent legislative actions
No public-sector union bills saw activity this week.