Arizona’s Republican Legislature could virtually wipe out public employee unions in a sweeping new package of legislation far broader than the collective-bargaining bills that shut down Wisconsin’s Capitol last spring.
The bills would:
- Make it illegal for government bodies to collectively bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would be included in the ban.
- End the practice of automatic payroll deductions for union dues.
- Ban compensation of public employees for union work.
Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law enacted last year made unions effectively irrelevant by limiting issues that could be bargained by a government and an employee group. Arizona’s bills would do away with collective bargaining entirely and also go beyond Wisconsin law by including public safety unions.
Coupled with Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to do away with civil-service protections for state employees, the new legislation could make Arizona ground zero for union protests during this election year.
The Goldwater Institute worked with state lawmakers to draw up the bills. The libertarian think tank has churned out research and reports over the past few years highlighting what it views as excesses in public-sector employment.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the guest of honor at Goldwater’s annual dinner last November. Walker had some advice for Arizona legislators when I interviewed him on “Sunday Square Off.”
The package of bills is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday before the Senate Government Reform Committee.
From Brahm Resnik’s Blog at AZCentral.com.