Arizona Legislature Begins Anti-Labor-Union Special Session; Language of Ballot Measure to be Fixed
Arizona lawmakers convened a special session today to fiddle with the language of a ballot measure intended to preserve secret-ballot elections in labor-union campaigns.
Funny thing, though: Arizona's got a lot of problems -- and this ain't one of them.
We've written about the issue before: In a nutshell, labor unions -- which have faced falling membership in recent years -- want to game the process of "unionizing" a company.
Traditionally, employees vote in a secret ballot whether to unionize. Labor unions want to get rid of that system, nationwide. If they have their way, unions could muscle their way into companies simply by presenting management with a certain number of employee signatures.
NBA Preseason Basketball: Phoenix Suns v. San Antonio Spurs
TicketsMon., Oct. 3, 7:00pm
NBA Preseason Basketball: Phoenix Suns v. Utah Jazz
TicketsWed., Oct. 5, 7:00pm
Arizona Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks
TicketsFri., Oct. 7, 7:00pm
TicketsSat., Oct. 8, 7:00pm
While we agree that eliminating secret ballots seems contrary to democratic principals, the change hasn't happened yet -- and may never happen at all. Although Democrats in Congress floated a bill to end secret ballots in favor of the "card-check" system, the bill didn't go anywhere. Pundits make the reasonable claim that Democrats are unlikely to push hard for the bill, seen by critics as a reward to unions for large campaign contributions, with the political waters already so turbulent.
The Arizona Legislature wants the public to approve the anti-union referendum this November, even though no federal legislation on card-checks yet exists. The special session is needed because the state Supreme Court has decided that Proposition 108, as worded, isn't constitutional.
Lawmakers ought to be able to get the proposition fixed quickly in their special session. Then, maybe, they can get back to doing real work.
Union officials are ticked off, naturally. According to one AP article:
Republicans hate unions and want to spend three days trashing us," said Rebekah Friend, executive director of the AFL-CIO of Arizona.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.