"Top that, Scott Walker!"
Over the past two years, Arizona's state government, led by Gov. Jan Brewer, has been characterized by not just run-of-the-mill Republican awfulness, but stuff that's kind of creative in its stupidity. Like selling the state capitol only to buy it back two years later at a $24 million loss. Impeaching the chair of the redistricting commission and not even being able to explain why. SB 1070 and other attacks on immigrants.
Clearly, Arizona Republicans are committed to doing things with flair, which I guess is why, in launching attacks on the state's public unions with a set of bills introduced in the Senate this week, they're declaring their set of attacks the biggest and best ever:
The bills were crafted with the help of the Goldwater Institute, a powerful conservative think tank in Phoenix that flew [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker to the state for an event in November. Nick Dranias, director of the institute’s Center for Constitutional Government, told TPM he sees Walker as a “hero” but that Wisconsin’s laws were “modest” compared to Arizona’s measures.
Where Walker only eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public workers and exempted police and fire fighters, Arizona wants to eliminate all collective bargaining rights and to include police and fire fighters. Arizona would also ban public workers from having union dues deducted from their paychecks and end "release time," in which union stewards and other representatives are allowed to spend work time on certain union functions, such as contract negotiations or handling grievances. The goal, TPM reports, is to make unions seem "obsolete":
“Gradually this would cause people to leave the unions as they recognized that unions no longer have an unfair bargaining advantage given to them by collective bargaining laws,” Dranias said. “They’ll realize that unions don’t do much for them.”
Well, no. If you make the central functions of unions illegal, unions can't do much for their members. Just as abortion being legal doesn't help women if there are no abortion providers within hundreds of miles of them. Just as the United States having "the best health care in the world" doesn't help if you can't afford to go to the doctor. Gotta love that Republican logic.