Do Public-Sector Strike Bans Really Prevent Conflict?


* Faculty of Management, McGill University. E-mail: This article is dedicated to the memory of Robert Stern, who passed away during its creation after a lifelong and courageous struggle with diabetes.


This article examines the effectiveness of strike-ban laws in reducing industrial conflict at the municipal level of government. Our central findings are that job actions were higher in states that had no law or no finality in the law, publicity campaigns were used as a pressure tactic in the bargaining process, and grievance delays were greatest under final offer arbitration. Thus dispute costs are highest in jurisdictions that provide no finality in dispute resolution whether or not an explicit framework for bargaining exists.