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New union hopes to help state workers

Chris Rossie, president of the local 7019 Communications Workers of America (Photo by Bill Coates)

Representatives of two labor groups announced a plan to forge a single union to in hopes of raising bargaining leverage to improve what they perceive as poor working conditions and low employee pay.
Members of the Communications Workers of America, which boasts 700,000 members in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, declared the formation of the Arizona State Employee Federation.
Chris Rossie, president of CWA 7019, told the crowd assembled at the state capitol’s executive tower that the formation of the single union would help working situations for government workers in the state by developing leaders and bargaining power.
“I’ve seen the positive things unions have done for state employees in New Jersey, Texas, and New Mexico, and we’ll bring that to Arizona,” he said.
Several Democrat legislators and candidates appeared at the meeting to support the move, including House Minority Leader Phil Lopes, D-27, who said the merging as a “historic occasion.”
Mr. Lopes said that recent pay raises for state employees approved by the Legislature and signed into law were not sufficient and that Democrat need to be elected to the House and Senate to counter current leadership that wants to have the government “go away.”
“We’ve got a battle ahead of us,” he said. “There is no question about that.”

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