Information on Military Unionization and Organization

FPCD-77-55: Published: Sep 16, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1977.

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The prospect of U.S. military unionization has become a distinct and controversial issue. One large public employee union has amended its constitution to permit military membership. Numerous bills have been introduced in Congress to prohibit such unionization.

Many European countries permit military personnel to join unions or form associations to deal collectively on matters affecting their living and working conditions. The Netherlands, West Germany, Denmark, and Sweden all permit some form of organized representations. Except in Sweden, none of the unions or associations has the right to strike. Involvement or interference in military matters is generally prohibited. Unions and associations appear to have contributed to improvements in pay and benefits and to the general working and living conditions of military personnel. However, since the military pay systems are generally linked to private and public sector pay, improvements may have resulted without military organizations' involvement. Military officials feel that personnel practices have improved communication and have resolved personnel problems and conflicts. These practices did not seem to affect military discipline, efficiency, or morale.

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