Public sector employees are those individuals working for federal, state or local governments, such as fire fighters, police officers, government white collar workers, and the like. A majority of the states have state legislation which provide certain rights to state and local government employees to form and join labor unions. The rights provided by the various states varies greatly from state to state, with some states offering rights similar to those provided under the NLRA, while other states provide fewer rights.
In addition, public sector employees (federal, state, and local) have certain rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. As most people are aware, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual's right to freedom of speech and association. These rights, which apply to public sector employees, work to protect your right to engage in union activities.
For example, you have a constitutionally protected right to form and join a labor union, even in states that do not allow public employee collective bargaining. This means that a public employer cannot fire you, or otherwise discriminate against you due to your membership in a labor union. In addition, as public employees, you have the right to engage in speech on matters of public concern including safety and budgetary issues that effect both you as an employee, and the public as well. These constitutional protections can be an important tool for organizing labor unions in the public sector, as well as tools that the unions can use to gain public support for their positions and concerns.