Anti-Union Bills Sail Out of Arizona Senate Government Reform Committee

Categories: Shop Talk

Bloomberg View

Anti-union sentiments among Arizona's conservative politicos aren't letting up.

Four anti-union bills aimed at thwarting unions' existence in the public sector sailed out of the Senate's Government Reform committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1484 states public employers "shall not deduct" any third party (unions) payments unless they have express permission from the employee.

Senate Bill 1485 aims to kill collective bargaining altogether: "No state agency or political subdivision of this state is vested or possesses any authority to ... (2) collectively bargain or enter into any employment bargain with any union or its agents."

Senate Bill 1486 prohibits cities and towns from building into union contracts any "release time," that is releasing city employees from their city jobs to work on behalf of the unions while still collecting salaries and benefits.

Senate Bill 1487 would make it unlawful for the public sector employer to diverted employee pay for "labor organization dues."

The Goldwater Institute, an ideologically-driven, conservative think-tank, is touting the righteousness of the bills, namely SB 1486, after it released a report condemning the $3.7 million a year that Phoenix spent on release time for city employees to conduct union work. In December, the think-tank filed a constitutional challenge against the City of Phoenix over that release time for members of the police union.

Pete Gorraiz, president of the Phoenix fire fighters' union, tells New Times that release time is used to work on training issues, spend time representing employees at grievance hearings and on community outreach such as drowning prevention and food drives.

He dismisses the Goldwater Institute's involvement as nothing more than the organization's effort to promote its own agenda. And "reducing the influence of unions" is at the top of the organization's to-do list.

From Goldwater's 2012 Freedom Agenda.

Ban Public-Sector Collective Bargaining Public-sector collective bargaining costs state and local taxpayers around the country tens of billions of dollars in excessive public employee compensation every year. Arizona should enact and expand upon reforms already in place in Virginia, which ban collective bargaining and collectively bargained contracts in the public sector. This could save Arizona taxpayers more than $550 million per year in compensation costs to government workers.

Read more of the Freedom Agenda.

Greg Brooks, a spokesman for the Goldwater Institute, tells New Times that such savings comes from lower employee wages and other cost-cutting city officials are able to do when they aren't tied to a union contract.

Gorraiz says that "bills will take the decision-making ability and local control away from the cities and towns across the entire state of Arizona."

"The State Legislature is trying to play parent to every political subdivision of the state and take away their ability to decide for themselves," Gorraiz says.

My Voice Nation Help

This attempt at "thwarting" Unions existence will not go unanswered. These right-wing extremist's attempt to do away with the collective bargaining rights for our public sector workers is but a first step in what surely will be an attempt to outlaw all unions. Our first responders,teachers & all public sector workers deserve our support in this struggle. These so called "leaders" in the Senate Goverment Reform committee & the useless Governor, should look inward at their own failure to be affective "leaders"instead of scapegoating the workers.....Blaming our fiscal problems on the workers is nothing more than a cop out......As an example,my spouse has been employed at the same company for over 33 years. All of those years the company has been a union company.The company has been profitable & has actually aquired & merged with a non-union company.All the new employees have chosen to join the union,so success can be acheived with union employees. What is lacking in this situation is leadership at the top.The workers are doing their jobs,it is our so called "leaders" that are failing us...............To all the Union workers in this struggle,rest assured,you are not alone. We will be there to support your struggle !

Asea Cwa
Asea Cwa

The amount of time a union steward spends representing fellow employees, filing grievances and protecting coworkers is directly proportionate to the amount of corruption in management / administration regardless if it is the private or public sector. 
THANK YOU for your support of fellow Union Sisters and Brothers!


Hey Brother, These republicans need to take a good look at China, their governments laws are that all businesses will be union, ask Lee Scott former CEO of Walmart, he thought he was still in the U.S. Chinese told him accept unions or go home, Being a man who like money he conceded.



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