Wednesday, February 1, 2012

AZ Legislators Want to Ban Collective Bargaining, ala Scott Walker

Arizona has been a "right-to-work" state for decades. Literally that means that company employee organizations can not force other employees to join a union. Practically it means a whole lot more. Unions have almost zero power in the state. Companies' negotiations with unions are not closely regulated by law, and organizations like NEA and AFT have little appeal for teachers who see no benefit from joining and paying dues.

As if this wasn't good enough for the employers, now Arizona legislators are trying to pass a law that would ban any collective bargaining with government workers. Since state government does not engage in collective bargaining with its employees already, the force of this bill if it becomes law would be felt at more local levels of government, primarily school districts. Republican legislators sponsoring this bill talk about government "servants" "ganging up" on taxpayers by wanting to negotiate for pay and working conditions. Arizona teachers are indeed looked on as "servants," but to imagine them "ganging up" on any school district is an absurdity. They are among the most powerless professionals in the U.S. as a result of the large numbers of individuals seeking teaching jobs, a tight-knit cartel of employers that fix their salaries, and a background of legislation has effectively denied them bargaining rights for decades.

A movement to recall Governor Jan Brewer is starting—February 2012—but probably has a whole lot less likelihood of ousting her than the movement that is much further along in Wisconsin to recall Scott Walker.

Gene V Glass
University of Colorado Boulder
Arizona State University

No comments:

Post a Comment