Thursday, February 21, 2013

Paycheck protection bill's defeat a massive missed opportunity

You might have read that paycheck protection legislation, SB 1182, went down to defeat today in Committee of the Whole in the Arizona state Senate.

In a Senate chamber with a Republican majority, I am stunned that the bill was turned back. This was an opportunity to finally put an end to public sector labor unions’ ability to help themselves to union dues from their members’ paychecks without the member having to actively agree to the automatic deductions.

This bill would have meant that public sector union members would have to opt-in annually to automatic dues deductions rather than opt-out.

What do the unions do with those dues? They in part fund political campaigns against pro-business candidates and work to support the election of more public sector union sympathizers to office. There are surely plenty of Republican union members who last election saw their confiscated union dues go on to fund attacks against Republican candidates.

Last election, ostensibly pro-business candidates were fortunate to fend off union attacks, though with plenty of help from their friends in the business community.

But don’t think that a few defeats in 2012 will cause a change in tactics by Big Labor. They’ll keep coming, especially if there are no consequences to their anti-jobs campaigns and agenda.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s foremost business advocacy organization, sent letters to legislators today urging passage of SB 1182. That the U.S. Chamber, which only rarely delves into state legislative politics, felt compelled to get involved speaks to the importance of this issue on a national level. People are watching Arizona.

Even in defeat, there are some real heroes on this one. Namely Senate President Andy Biggs who put the bill up on the board for a vote, Sen. Gail Griffin who championed the bill as sponsor, and Sen. Rick Murphy who last year was outspoken in putting the paycheck protection issue front and center.

They deserve our thanks. We won’t forget who stood up for jobs today.