Elections

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.  

 

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.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern