Chalk one up for Arizona’s workers and put another black mark up for state legislators obsessed with attacking workers and their unions for their corporate sponsors. A federal judge yesterday ruled 2011 laws on paycheck deception and restricting workers’ right to picket were unconstitutional.
More than 800 union members, their families, immigration advocates and community leaders rallied in front of the Arizona state Capitol yesterday to reaffirm their support for commonsense immigration reform that protects immigrants and America's workers. In a press conference before the rally, Arizona AFL-CIO Executive Director Rebekah Friend announced that the organization had adopted a resolution that calls on Congress to pass immigration reform, including a practical and inclusive road map to citizenship that reflects core American values such as fairness, equality and family unity.
Two more Republican governors have come out in support of expanding Medicaid in their states, realizing that not only is the program a good deal for them, but that it provides additional benefits for their residents. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer discovered that expanding Medicaid would save her state $353 million. Meanwhile, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval projected that expansion would save his state $17 million.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.
As the new year starts, Arizona's lowest-paid workers will see a gift—the state's minimum wage will go up 15 cents, to a new total of $7.80 an hour. More than 72,000 workers will get a boost in their pay equaling an average of $320 annually. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the increased consumer spending generated by the increase will add $13 million to the local gross domestic product (GDP). Nine other states also will be raising their wages on Jan. 1, 2013, helping nearly 1 million workers across the nation.
A 13-year-old Arizonan and Adiós Arpaio volunteer had to stand up and be the man of the house because his father was deported. An 18-year-old was pulled over while driving and sent to jail because he didn't have the right documentation. These are the stories that energized Latinos, teenagers and Arizona's working families to create political change in their community.
Adiós Arpaio, a campaign that set out to oust Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recruited 2,000 high school students to canvass and register more than 34,000 new voters.
UNITE HERE sends us this video detailing the on-the-ground work of Arizonans who were determined to stop families from being torn apart and young people being sent to jail.
After more than a week of protests that brought national attention to what Rachel Maddow called “Arizona’s Broken Electoral System,” Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett told the Associated Press over the weekend that he will seek an overhaul of Arizona’s ballot-counting process.
Bennett’s announcement comes just days after his initial insistence that, while not perfect, Arizona’s counting this year was customary and that protests were unnecessary.
In a series of video letters, working families and retirees ask members of Congress not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Because of the fiscal obstacle course created by Congress, some in Washington, D.C., want to cut these lifelines. But there is no need to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, particularly when any cuts would directly harm working families.
Sarah Burris of UNITE HERE sends us this update from Arizona. Burris works in online media.
I've been on the ground this week in Arizona to help a campaign UNITE HERE invested in this year called Adios Arpaio. Adios Arpaio was a massive voter-registration campaign, aimed at voting out the notoriously anti-immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that was led by 2,000 high school students, many of them the children of immigrants. We registered 35,000 new voters, and 70% of them are Latino. I've spent some time here before and many, many weeks since helping with everything I could.