An anti-union ballot measure passed both the Arizona House and Senate on a voice vote Tuesday, after beating back proposed Democratic amendments. Both chambers gave preliminary approval to a measure seeking to guarantee the right of a secret ballot in union elections. The measure faces a final vote Wednesday, after which lawmakers are expected to adjourn their single-issue special session.
The special session was called last week, after courts ruled that an earlier measure meant to guarantee secret-ballot votes for public and union elections violated the state Constitution. By Arizona law, ballot measures can only be about one subject. So the Republican-led legislature is fixing the language by making it just about union elections. The new measure is intended to be on this November's ballot.
The resolution would ask voters to decide if a secret ballot is required for employees to organize as part of a labor union. The law is seen by Republicans as a preemptive strike against possible federal attempts to make it easier to organize. Democrats in Congress have talked about passing what's called a "card check" law. Such a law would make organizing into a union a simple matter of getting the written consent of a majority of the workers. Under current labor law, workers trying to organize must get signatures from a majority just to authorize a vote to organize.
Both chambers are expected to give final approval to the measure Wednesday (Aug. 11th). Republican lawmakers hope to place the proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot as Proposition 113.
Democrats tried to amend the anti-union legislation but were unsuccessful. Tucson Democratic Rep. Daniel Patterson tried to introduce one amendment would have extended the right of secret balloting to the selection of corporate management. Another amendment would have officially named the ballot measure the “Anti-Arizona Worker Amendment.” Senate Republicans also rejected an amendment that would have given an employee the right to have another person present in any meeting with an employer about forming a union.
Read the original measure, SCR1026, ruled unconstitutional:
Read the amended measure, HCR2001, currently up for debate in the legislature: