Join us on Thursday, March 1 at the State Capitol to protect the rights of Arizona’s employees from bills that harm middle class workers and our communities. Together, employees from cities and towns across Arizona will tell legislators to focus on creating jobs, not taking away workers’ rights.
The Day of Action includes:
9-10 am: Registration
10 am – Noon: Classes and Lobbying
Noon – 1 pm: Lunch
1 – 2 pm: Rally
Bus transportation is available from Tucson (loading at 6:15 am) and Phoenix (loading at 8:15 am). Reservations are necessary.
To RSVP in metro Phoenix or northern Arizona, contact Akemy Bon-Flores at 602-363-3992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In metro Tucson and southern Arizona, RSVP to Suguey Hernandez at 520-247-4617 or email email@example.com.
A judge has struck down an Arizona law that increased the amount state employees must contribute toward their pensions as unconstitutional.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Eileen Willett wrote in a Friday ruling that a state law that went into effect on July 1 illegally changed the contract between the state and its employees. State law, she said, forbid laws “impairing the obligation of a contract.”
The law increased the contributions state employees must make to their pension from 50 percent to 53 percent.
In her address, the Governor’s comments included, “I asked for this job because I want to permanently reform state government… including personnel reform that improves the management of the workforce – restructures the grievance and appeal systems –and modifies human resource practices.”
SEIU Arizona State Director Don Carr said, “Our union is prepared to uphold existing protections for public employees. We will fight any so-called “reforms” that simply allow for favoritism or give unfair advantages to some employees at the expense of others. We have already seen many shocking attempts to discipline people without reasonable cause when we’re representing State employees during grievance processes. We also want to be sure that employees are not targeted by rogue managers if they choose to bring a grievance because they believe they have been treated unfairly.”
Gov. Brewer detailed her unhappiness with the current “merit” system for hiring, promoting and firing State employees when she addressed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) members on November 21, during their conference in Scottsdale.
The Governor’s complaints about the merit system include:
* The procedure for firing staff is “difficult”
* The system “discourages” supervisors from managing or disciplining employees
* “It takes too long” to hire people
* The State is unable to reward top performers
Late last legislative session, the Governor’s office created a 230-page bill for Legislature, but it was not introduced. Now, she and her staff are working on a new plan that is likely to include many of the same bad ideas.
The previous plan included:
* Moving from the current “merit” system to an “at-will” system.
* Allowing supervisors more freedom to discipline and fire employees, by reworking the employee grievance process.
* Limiting the appeals process for employees who are disciplined.
The Governor also wants to revamp the employee classification and compensation structure to allow for hiring of “more highly qualified workers.” Governor Brewer said she would like to see “process and policies that work more like the private sector.”
Don Carr added, “Rest assured, SEIU State members and staff will be watching for these changes, and will take whatever action is necessary to preserve and defend the rights of Arizona State employees.”
SEIU State members Jack York, Tomás Pino, D. B. White and Chandler chapter member Mark Hardenburg stood with thousands of other members, allies and friends and marched on the Capitol in Washington, D. C., from December 5 – 9, braving the cold and rain to demand that Congress work together to create policies that will restore the American Dream.
“Blog for Arizona” author, David Safier, joined our group and had this observation: “One important thing I learned from the week was how committed the SEIU is to getting the word out about problems with income disparity and joblessness in the country. They were a major presence in the Take Back week.” Read more of his blog here.
As Congress deliberates the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for more than 2 million people and the deficit reduction recommendations of the Super Committee—which could include devastating cuts that would destroy millions of jobs—we reminded elected leaders to represent all Americans, not just the richest 1%.
Our members spent all day Tuesday in Sen. Jon Kyl’s office, to tell him that his Arizona constituents want him to advocate for all his voters, not just his wealthy donors. CNN joined them and posted this story on their website.
Wednesday, we marched on K Street, protesting the influence of lobbyists and their money on politicians, as the Washington Post reported.
And Thursday, we participated in a prayer vigil, with unemployed folks and faith leaders, then marched to the Capitol, demanding that Speaker of the House, John Boehner to demand that he stop blocking efforts to create jobs. Read more from the Associated Press.
SEIU Arizona members from Gilbert, Chandler and State Chapters joined allies here — and members across the nation — to declare an economic emergency for the 99% and tell Congress to support job-creating policies to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure.
In communities across America SEIU members participated in bridge actions. In New York City, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was arrested, along with other community leaders and clergy. See coverage of her arrest on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”
The rally was held on the historic bridge over the Grand Canal on 15th Ave., north of Indian School Rd. The aging bridge was one of several structures in Arizona that are structurally deficient.
When the Arizona legislature passed a bill discriminating against union members and challenging our rights to free speech, SEIU fought back and won a major victory for union members!
On Friday, September 23, a Federal District Court in Arizona issued a preliminary injunction against Arizona SB1365. The law prohibited employers from deducting union and professional organization dues that would be used for “political purposes.” Judge G. Murray Snow stated that by targeting only certain unions, the law was discriminatory and in violation of the First Amendment.
This is a huge victory for working people in Arizona, and a blow to anti-union forces that are using the legislature to undermine the fundamental rights of workers. SEIU members joined other unions, including the local affiliates of NEA, UFCW and AFSCME and made the case that the law was a direct assault on the First Amendment. The Judge agreed – he ruled that the entire law was unconstitutional.
Our fight will go on, because these politicians will continue their attacks on public services and the public employees who provide them. See the editorial SEIU Arizona State Director Don Carr wrote in May, alerting members to the lawsuits filed to stop the legislature’s unconstitutional bills from taking effect.
SEIU members will continue to stand together as we fight to preserve the merit system and protect workers from unfair discipline, prevent staff cuts, and provide appropriate staffing to get the jobs done without breaking workers’ backs.
Through SEIU, members are united with co-workers all around the state. We are Stronger Together – and together we have the power to make positive changes for all Arizonans!