State Capitol News
Fri May 6, 2011
Federal Government Goes to Court to Void Arizona Constitutional Amendment
Phoenix, AZ – In November voters approved a measure which says the only way a union can be formed in Arizona is by secret ballot. Proponents said they wanted the state to be able to opt out of a change that Congress was considering which would have allowed union organizers to instead demand employer recognition once they had cards with the signatures of at least half of the workers, a procedure known as card check. The lawsuit by the National Labor Relations Board claims the measure runs afoul of federal labor laws and therefore is invalid. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said while Congress never approved that change, it still is possible for a union to be formed without an election.
(Right now it's up to the employer. An employer can decide, they're presented with these cards, an employer can say I believe that you have the majority on your side and I'm going to recognize the union. And our reading of this amendment would make that impossible.)
But state Attorney General Tom Horne said even if federal law does allow an alternate method of forming a union, that does not make it right.
(I would ask you to ask your readers to consider how they would feel if their secret ballot was taken away from them when they elect their congressmen? And then consider how workers would feel in what is really the same situation -- even more so, because they have more at stake.)
No date has been set for a hearing. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.