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Union dues ban advances, but other bills appear to stall (access required)

A proposal to outlaw automatic salary deductions for public union dues – unless workers expressly authorize them annually – survived a vigorous Senate debate on Thursday, and was passed by a vote of 19-11.

The bill, championed by Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, is headed for the House for further action, but other measures that would fundamentally weaken public unions in Arizona have yet to be calendared for a debate.

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Unions forego all-out battle with Legislature — for now (access required)

Public unions are avoiding a forceful confrontation with conservative lawmakers who are pushing for a slew of anti-union proposals – for now.

Instead of declaring an open war by organizing massive protests at the state Capitol — a tactic adopted by labor unions in Wisconsin who faced a similar threat last year — unions here have had a more tempered response.

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Goldwater Institute branded as ‘lobbyist’ for anti-union bills (access required)

Behind an array of proposals to weaken unions is a small but influential conservative group that is partly responsible for moving Arizona’s needle to the right of the political spectrum.

The Goldwater Institute developed and drafted legislation that is now the focal point of what could be the biggest political fight at the state Capitol this year.

But now the group itself, not just its ideas, is under close scrutiny from opponents.

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Political firestorm looms as lawmakers advance strict anti-labor measures (access required)

In what is shaping up as one of the biggest political fights this year, conservative lawmakers are pushing a slew of measures that would fundamentally weaken public-sector unions in Arizona.

Taken together, the anti-union bills that were approved this week by a legislative committee are more restrictive than what was enacted in Wisconsin, where political turmoil erupted after its governor proposed to curtail collective bargaining rights for most state and local public employees.

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