The discussion around the question of public service employees’ right to strike has been evolving for a long time. On the one hand, being responsible for primary services for the society, any attempt to stop working and express their wish for change in the form of a strike might be harmful to the peace and wellbeing of the people inhabiting a particular neighborhood.
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On the other hand, the lack of such a right provokes controversy with the core ideas of democracy, according to which, everyone has the right to demand sufficient working conditions in any legal form. Taking into account the issue under discussion, public servants should have the right to strike due to the anti-democratic character of its forbiddance and exaggerated adverse outcomes presented by the government.
According to the USA anti-strike policy, public servants such as school teachers, hospital workers, and other government employees cannot strike due to the impact the delay of their work might have on the community. Therefore, federal laws and some state legislative measures become the basis for providing forbiddance of strikes in the public services sector justifying the idea that “one cannot strike against the government” (Riccucci 307).
For example, if doctors in a local hospital abandon their workplaces to strike, it will cause significant harm to the community because, in the worst case, someone’s life could be at stake. It applies to other vital occupations that embrace the spheres guaranteeing the welfare of a community. Therefore, strikes of the highly essential employees can be damageable for the society.
However, the justification of the importance of the public sector’s uninterrupted work for society’s wellbeing due to the necessity of constant access to the services is not entirely carried out. There exist a lot of private sector entities that provide the same primary services but are not exposed to the restriction of strike rights. According to Riccucci, the fact that the government guarantees the right to strike for transportation or communication workers involved in the private sector can cause much more harm to society than clerks’ bargaining (307). Such a strict anti-strike policy applied to public servants does not exist in every country.
Many states provide their public service employees with the right to participate in strikes as a manifestation of democratic ideas (Riccucci 307-308). Indeed, denying public sector workers the right to protest contradicts the democratic constitutional basis and imposes a conflict that has to be resolved.
Concluding the discussion, public servants should have the right to strike because it is their way to express their disagreement with policies and it presents equality for all people before the law. Undoubtedly, the interruption of some primary services employees’ work might cause significant harm to a community. However, then the government should utilize a consistent policy for equally important public sector services whose strikes might be even more harmful to the public.
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In reality, only those involved in governmental institutions are deprived of the right to protest. Being anti-democratic, the anti-strike policy in the USA forces public servants to sacrifice their core rights for the sake of a community’s welfare. Thus, these people have to be provided with an alternative way of collective protesting to be able to express their dissatisfaction with working conditions.
Riccucci, Norma M. Public Personnel Administration and Labor Relations. Routledge, 2015.