A bill in Arizona would ban collective bargaining by public employees, end deductions for union dues, and prohibit paid release time for union activities. (More)


Winning Progressive’s favorite commercial to come out on Super Bowl Sunday was not one that aired on television. Instead, it was an online commercial put together by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (“AFSCME”) pushing back on the attack on workers being proposed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Arizona) and her Republican cronies. The commercial intertwines footage of Gov. Brewer’s disastrous debate performance in the 2010 elections with an overview of how the GOP is attacking workers in the state.

As has been explained at Talking Points Memo, the GOP’s assault on labor in the state goes far beyond the anti-union legislation that was pushed by conservatives in Wisconsin. In particular, the Arizona legislation would do four things:

The bills include a total ban on collective bargaining for Arizona’s public employees, including at the city and county levels.
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Beyond a ban on collective bargaining, the bills would also prohibit state and local government workers from deducting money from their paychecks to pay union dues.

They would ban state and local governments from paying anyone to spend time doing union work, a practice known as “release time.”

And in another break from the Wisconsin model, the restrictions would affect every type of public union, including police and firefighters.

The Arizona anti-worker legislation is a joint effort of the American Legislation Exchange Committee (“ALEC”), the shadowy right wing group that writes much of the conservative legislation being promoted in state legislatures; the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Arizona, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. By attacking the unions of police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other public employees, the legislation would strike yet another blow against some of the last remaining secure middle class jobs in Arizona, and is clearly part of a conservative effort to attack those jobs throughout the country.

The Arizona anti-worker legislation was introduced last Monday and pushed through a Senate committee in less than 48 hours, which means unions and their allies are scrambling to organize in opposition. While the GOP controls the House, Senate, and Governor’s office in the state, organizing against this legislation is important both to try to stop it and to help prepare to defeat anti-worker Republicans in the 2012 elections in the state. For example, just last November, the rabidly conservative State Senator Russell Pearce, who authored the anti-immigrant SB 1070, was recalled due to organized opposition to that legislation.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect the rights of working people in Arizona:

* sign AFSCME’s letter opposing the conservative attack on labor

* if you live in Arizona, write a letter to your local newspaper editor and contact your elected officials to tell them to oppose SB 1484, 1485, 1486, and 1487

* “Like” the Arizona AFL-CIO and Resist Arizona Anti Union Bills Facebook pages so that you can keep up to date with the organizing against this legislation.