Unions And The Employment Patterns Of Women And Minorities In Local Government Work Forces

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration


David H. Rosenbloom


Public Sector, Corrective Bargaining, Public administration

Subject Categories

Public Administration


The status of women and minorities in the labor market has been the object of much study during the past several decades. The concern in this body of literature is whether discriminatory practices continue to operate against women and minorities, thereby preventing them from entering the labor force and/or advancing to positions for which they are qualified.

The aim of this research has been to examine the relationship between unions and the status of women and minorities in city government work forces. It was hypothesized that women and minorities, in terms of penetration in the city work force and job-category level, in nonessential services' departments (i.e., all but police and fire departments), would be enhanced when a union was present as opposed to absent, and when the union was more powerful as compared with less powerful.

To test this hypothesis, correlation and stepwise regression procedures were conducted on a sample of 78 cities across the country. A case study of Syracuse, New York was also conducted to complement the quantitative analysis.

On the basis of my quantitative findings, unions, contrary to my expectations, appear to be relatively insignificant in explaining the employment patterns of women and minorities in terms of their penetration in city work forces or job-category levels. Moreover, these findings hold true for nonessential as well as essential services' departments. These findings were somewhat supported by the case study. That is, Syracuse's police and firefighting unions appear insignificant with respect to the employment patterns of women and minorities. However, the nonessential services' union appears to be extremely supportive of and, more importantly, responsive to the employment needs and demands of women and minorities. This finding was inconsistent with my quantitative findings.

It may be, then, that nonessential services' unions can be relied upon to enhance the status of women and minorities in city government work forces. If this is the case, perhaps a greater degree of formal authority in the area of equal employment opportunity (eec) should be delegated to unions, in an effort to buttress eeo policy. Once we have actual knowledge of unions' commitment to eeo, we can determine if unions should be employed as a vehicle to enhance eeo policy.


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