Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act

Updated: 11/1/21

Bill name: Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act
Bill sponsor: H.R. 5727, sponsored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)

Summary:  The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act would overturn public sector state collective bargaining laws in almost every state in the country. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) would be authorized to intervene on behalf of public sector workers if a state failed to recognize the minimum collective bargaining requirements as set forth in this bill.

The Act would overturn state collective bargaining laws which do NOT include the following stipulations:

  • Allowing public employees the ability to organize and collectively bargain over almost any topic. Many states limit or prohibit what public employees can bargain over
  • Mandating a public employer recognize and bargain with a labor organization if it receives a majority of votes from employees voting in an election, rather than votes equal to or greater than a majority of workers in a unit
  • Prohibiting the ability of workers to periodically vote on the union representing them at the workplace (a process known as union recertification)
  • Agreeing to arbitration or mediation as well as automatic payroll deduction of union dues.
  • Mandating dues check off agreements where states would need to be the bill collectors for union dues

Under the Act, public safety employees would be prohibited from going on strike or taking any organized job actions that could disrupt emergency services.

Bill Status:  Congressional Democrats first introduced the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act in 2018 in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus V. AFSCME decision that extended right-to-work protections to all public sector workers across the country. Previously, Congressional Democrats had introduced a narrower version of the bill targeted only at public safety employees, the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.” The public safety worker bill has been repeatedly offered since the late 1990s and was approved by the House in 2007. The current version of the bill is The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act H.R. 3225. 

Click here to read the bill language. 

Also related, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. 


Additional Resources

Op-ed: House Proposal Would Trample On States To Help Unions
September 4, 2019, Daily Caller
F. Vincent Vernuccio and Morgan Shields, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Democrats’ plan for a nationwide giveaway to public-sector unions
September 1, 2019, New York Post
Ken Giradin, Empire Center for Public Policy

Human Right or Federal Overreach? House Members Spar Over Legislation to Protect Public Workers
June 26, 2019
Carolyn Phenicie,

Democrats introduce bill to strip workers of rights won under Supreme Court union ruling
June 28, 2018
Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner

Onder testifies against federal bills strengthening collective bargaining for public unions before Congress
June 26, 2019
Kaitlyn Schallhorn, The Missouri Times


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