PROMO Miscellaneous - Classified Ad Help Wanted Jobs Newpaper - iStock - zimmytws

Initiative aims to remove right-to-work statute in Arizona

© iStock - zimmytws
Alex Gonzalez

(Arizona News Connection) A grassroots organization in Arizona is pushing to remove the state's right-to-work statute in an attempt to strengthen unionization.

The group Arizona Works Together said the state's right-to-work laws make achieving things like better pay and benefits more challenging. The group added average workers in right-to-work states earn about $10,000 less than in non-right-to-work states each year.

Jennifer Sherer, director of the state worker power initiative for the Economic Policy Institute, said by looking at trends, workers across the country are increasingly looking to their right to organize and collectively bargain as a vehicle to address what she called "really deep inequalities in our economy." 

"The initiative and the discussion underway in a number of states about making sure every worker has full access to those rights is the origin of the initiative you are seeing in Arizona," Sherer explained.

Sherer argued because of Arizona's right-to-work laws, unions have been what she deems "actively suppressed." The initiative being pushed by Arizona Works Together is currently working to get close to 400,000 signatures by next summer to get the measure on the general election ballot in November 2024.

Business leaders are expected to oppose the measure, saying it could be damaging to overall competitiveness in the Grand Canyon State.

Sherer emphasized collective bargaining rights are popular among workers across political ideologies. She added nine of 10 young workers approve and are interested in unionization, and said across the country, workers are wanting to improve their working conditions and the compensation they receive.

Earlier this year, Michigan repealed its right-to-work law. Sherer contended people around the country want to ensure a more fair economy.

"If you live in Arizona versus you drive a little bit west and live in California, it is almost like you're in a different economy as a worker because in California you have full bargaining rights," Sherer stressed.

Sherer pointed out various factors, including major strikes currently happening around the country, have led to more of an awareness relating to labor laws and union organizing.