Arizona Goes Medieval on Workers

Last week, while many of us were focusing on Indiana’s “right to work” fight and the Super Bowl, the Arizona legislature introduced four virulently anti-worker bills. They are as follows:

SB 1484 would require public employees to “obtain authorization for any third party payroll deductions.”

SB 1485 would prohibit any public sector collective bargaining. This goes much farther than Scott Walker’s law in Wisconsin. This means no bargaining at all for teachers, nurses, firefighters, or police officers. It also preempts any local laws allowing for collective bargaining.

SB 1486 also outlaws public sector collective bargaining and prohibits a public employer from compensating an employee for “third party or union activities.”

SB 1487 again outlaws payroll deduction for all public sector union dues.

Translation: the Arizona legislature wants to make sure that all public workers are stripped of anything remotely resembling union representation. Arizona is already a “right-to-work” state, but these four bills make all pertinent union functions illegal. Filing a grievance would become nearly impossible. Contract negotiations would be completely one-sided.

Just like the case of Issue 2 in Ohio, this bill would keep public safety workers from bargaining for the parts of their jobs that keep them alive. Nurses couldn’t bargain for adequate staffing levels. Firefighters couldn’t bargain for the right equipment.

And if the legislature decides that the good bullet proof vests cost too much, and that they’d rather spring for the bargain basement bullet proof vests, because hey, times are tight, Arizona’s police officers would just have to accept that.

This is what these bills do. They take the decisions of the workers themselves and put them in the hands of politicians. In other states, the professionals that make up the public sector unions can band together and say “when it comes to keeping ourselves alive, we know best.” But with these Arizona bills, that voice is gone – made completely illegal.

These four bills do nothing to create jobs in Arizona. These four bills do nothing to address the homeowners on the brink of foreclosure. These four bills do nothing to invest in Arizona’s students, its children, or its future.

Our friends at AFSCME have launched a new website, “Razing Arizona,” to tell Arizona lawmakers to reject these bills. Please sign, share, and help spread the word. This is warfare against the middle class, and we can’t let them win.


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