Unions: A Perennial Target in #AZLeg (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

It wouldn’t be the Arizona Legislature without at least one attack on unions. This year’s union-busting bill is SB1268, from Senator Warren Petersen. (Not surprising.)

SB1268 is similar but worst than Petersen’s union-busting bill from 2020, which died due to the pandemic. It requires lots of unnecessary bureaucracy and redundant paperwork. Republicans are against bureaucracy — except when they can use it against people and groups they don’t like. SB1268 allows union members to go outside the contract and choose their own health insurance. This would be destabilizing on the union health plans because they are negotiated on behalf of large numbers of employees and can get better prices because of the volume.

The person behind this bill is a Phoenix small business owner, who really has no standing on this issue. He is not a union member and doesn’t employ any union members. He processes payroll and sells insurance. He claimed that he had concerns about union employees and claimed that they don’t know what there benefits are or how much they cost because these costs are not itemized on the paycheck. This turned out to be a complete fabrication. A listening union member sent me a screen shot of her pay stub (deidentified) and a screen shot of the benefits table from the contract book. He also claimed that union members and their employers were paying too much for health insurance, and that is why he wants them to be able to shop around. “Everybody knows you can get health insurance for $400,” he claimed, as he reminded us that he sells insurance.

The Democrats pushed back against the fabrications. Several union members testified virtually or in person. Unlike some other committees, Chair Rep. Jeff Weninger has been very fair with Democratic members and the public who come to testify. SB1268 passed on a party line vote.

Here is the link to the Commerce Committee Meeting. SB1268 is first. https://www.azleg.gov/videoplayer/?eventID=2021031108