Important Labor Victories In Arizona, Colorado And Pennsylvania

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It's a good day for labor across the country as three anti-worker bills appear to have died in the legislatures of Arizona, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Arizona's was the worst, as it was a full-out assault on collective bargaining rights for state workers. It stalled in the state senate:

State Arizona Republicans acknowledged they don’t have enough votes to pass the bill. The collective bargaining bills were written with the help of the Goldwater Institute. The group flew in union-busting Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin for an event late last year. The bills would have taken away the rights of unions to negotiate at the bargaining table.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona are working with other public employee groups to engage elected officials to rally support and it has made a huge difference in this legislative session.

Unions are still fighting a dues deduction bill. The bill would ban government employees from having dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. The measure would also affect health insurance and deferred compensation deductions.

There is also an on-going push in Arizona to pay younger people less than the minimum wage.

Colorado Republicans failed in an attempt to make the state a right-to-work (for less) state:

Sources from the Colorado AFL-CIO have confirmed that Colorado Senate Bill 100 (Right to Work) has died in the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.

SB 100 was sponsored by Tea Party State Senator Tim Neville.

Colorado voters previously defeated “Right-to-Work” in its 2008 form, Amendment 47. This round of “Right-to-Work” push was led by an adviser to the Independence Institute, Jeff Crank from Americans for Prosperity, The National Right to Work Committee, the Associated Builders & Contractors and Tony Gagliardi from the NFIB. The Colorado AFL-CIO alleges that “not one real worker or real business owner showed-up to back these extremists and it made them look pathetic.”

The bill died in a 4-2 vote.

Finally, Pennsylvania Republicans failed to weaken the state's prevailing wage statute:

An effort by Pennsylvania House Republicans to weaken the state’s prevailing wage law failed when, despite having the majority, they could not get enough votes. House Republicans claimed that raising the project cost threshold that triggers the prevailing wage from the current, 1961-established level of $25,000 would save local governments money. There is little evidence that this is true, however. In fact, many experts argue that raising the threshold would truly only guarantee that work would be done by under-trained, frequently non-union contractors, resulting in higher long-term costs.

The House GOP was stopped in its tracks by (gasp!) pro-labor Republicans, including roughly a dozen from the Philadelphia suburbs who refused to go along with party leadership because they believe the desired threshold of $185,000 is too high. Democrats, who opposed the bill, claimed it was an attack on PA workers.

These are all good signs that when we fight back, we can win, even in places where governors and legislatures are hostile to working families.


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