Vanderbilt Law Review

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In 1816, the federal service under President James Madison consisted of 4,000 employees.' By 1950, the federal government had, 120,000 persons on its payroll, while state and municipal governments employed another 4,290,000. Today there are 2,720,000 federal employees and 10,150,000 employees of state and municipal governments.' The emergence of a new labor movement aimed at attaining for public employees the right to bargain collectively, a right guaranteed to workers in the private sector by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), recently has accompanied this expansion of government employment.' National legislation, however, has never extended the right to bargain collectively to public employees; indeed, all governments--federal, state, and local--traditionally have prohibited, either by statute or judicial decision, collective bargaining in their public services.

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