Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Public Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Brenda Rowe


This paper examines trade unionism in the City of Atlanta Civil Service. Focusing on the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and general service employees, with the city as members, the study employed the qualitative research methods of participantobservation and analysis of secondary data sources.

Major findings of the study are first, the lack of collective bargaining agreement (contract) between AFSCME and the City of Atlanta. This problem is found to be related to the legal setting of the City of Atlanta, the influence of the Civil Service Board on labor relation matters and the attitudes of public managers towards collective bargaining. Georgia's law pertaining to collective bargaining is vague. As a non-statutory state, collective negotiations in Georgia are limited to a meet-and-confer policy and the use of the union security measure of dues check-off.

Secondly, board members are found to lack proper qualifications in personnel matters yet are trusted with initial responsibilities of assisting the city in serving and maintaining highly skilled, motivated and productive personnel. In addition, the board is responsible for a complete evaluation and the passing of final disciplinary decisions on employees, without adequate experience and knowledge in these areas. The results are inconsistent judgement and delay in adjudicating grievance cases.

Thirdly, the attitude of public managers towards collective bargaining with public employees in the city is negative. This negative attitude is enhanced by over reliance on attorney general opinions which govern and shape labor-relation matters in the city.