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Measure May Undermine Union Politics

Voters may get a chance next year to decide on a measure that would undermine union political influence. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The initiative unveiled this week would require that employees give annual written approval before any money taken from their paychecks could be used for political purposes. That includes not just supporting or opposing candidates, but even lobbying at the Legislature.

Organizer Roy Miller said the measure promotes freedom. But Miller, a co-founder of the conservative and anti-union Goldwater Institute, acknowledged he is looking at it through a particular political lens. "Even though 50 to 60% at the most of employees favor liberal causes," Miller said. "The union money and the money forced from contributions goes almost 90% to liberal causes. So, that's not right."

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called the measure an attack on working people and an attempt to keep them out of the political process. And he said it's unnecessary. "When people decide to join a union or whatever organization we're talking about," Campbell said, "they give their consent in the beginning. To them make that organization have to spend time and money to go back and talk to these people on a regular basis, it's another obstacle."

And Campbell pointed out Arizona is a right-to-work-state, meaning no one has to join a union. Miller and supporters have until July 2014 to get nearly 260,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.