Ariz. GOP House Speaker Shelves Anti-Worker Legislation

PHOENIX–In an interesting demonstration of labor’s political clout, the Republican Speaker of the Arizona House is shelving two controversial anti-worker bills, fearing that passing them would drive unions, their allies, and anti-GOP voters to the polls this fall.

Speaker Andy Tobin put out to pasture one measure that would open up all bargaining between public worker unions and government officials to public scrutiny.  He also said he would not bring up a second one, banning deducting union dues from workers’ paychecks unless the governments involved voted in open session for the deductions.

The second measure is a variation on a GOP/Right Wing scheme by Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., who banned deduction of union dues for 200,000 state and local public workers.  Another “paycheck protection” variation bans worker political donations, even voluntary ones.

Arizona legislators approved a “paycheck protection” law two years ago, but exempted police and Fire Fighter union members from it.  The exemption led a federal judge to toss the law out, calling it discrimination against other public workers.  The law hasn’t reappeared.

Tobin said the two measures he shelved would anger Fire Fighters and police unions.    Their dislike of the measures could prompt anti-GOP votes at this fall’s polls.  “We still have many of our members who don’t want to hurt public safety,” he told local media.  “Public safety is a Republican issue, and my members clearly do not like getting in the middle of that.”  Tobin also predicted the state senate, now 17-13 GOP, would dismiss both bills, anyway.