Arizona’s working families deserve more than the rigged economic rules written of, by and for the rich in our state. Throughout my life, I have refused to accept a reality in which families must forever struggle to make ends meet. As your Representative, I will fiercely continue this fight. With our union Sisters and Brothers, we are committed to helping every worker to have a voice and the power at work to get fair wages, a safe workplace, a dignified retirement.
You work too hard, and we can do better. We must do better. It is paramount that our Legislature work for working people, to expand your rights in the workplace, and ensure that every Arizonan is able to live a secure and better life. As a great labor leader said, the economy is not the weather—it is a set of rules, and the rules are increasingly written by the rich for their own benefit. We are changing that by organizing our communities on a scale that will overwhelm the greedy corporate parasites that are creating a permanent underclass of workers to serve the top 1%.
The ability for workers to organize, to effectively negotiate for these demands, must be expanded and protected. The time has come to take the fight directly to the wealthiest donors and corporations who’ve bought our government, and wrest it back into the control of everyday people.
That means we must repeal the anti-union ‘right to work’ lie in our state once and for all.
Marching with United Steel Workers Local 937
Many of us are subjected to uniquely challenging working conditions. The Arizona climate is unforgiving, and can be deadly. It is absolutely shameful that we have no occupational heat safety standards in place to protect Arizona workers exposed to the elements.
In 2016 Arizonans of all political persuasions overwhelmingly acknowledged the need to raise our minimum wage, and provide paid sick leave to all working people in our state by voting Proposition 206 into law. Advancing that cause even further, the city of Flagstaff passed an initiative raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Tucson’s city leaders have proposed raising wages beyond state minimums for municipal employees. Despite warnings of doom and gloom from big business and chambers of commerce, we’ve witnessed an economic boost because of these efforts. Lawmakers under the thumb of corporate interests refuse to accept this reality. Last legislative session they introduced an attempt to create a class of low-wage workers who could be paid less than the current minimum wage, based on age and hours worked. These kinds of blatant attacks put young families, and those working to pay their way through a secondary education directly at risk. What is bad for working people, is bad for our economy. It’s that simple.
Quality healthcare is the right of all Arizonans. The expansion of our State Medicaid system in 2014 after the Federal passage of the Affordable Care Act was of great benefit to low-income Arizona families, giving more than half a million people access to previously unavailable care. Increasing accessibility to an even greater number of Arizonans is an important component of workplace justice. When working people have healthcare they can rely on, our families and our economy benefit from that stability.
Arizonans working in public sector jobs rightly have anti-discrimination protections in place, which after hard-fought battles, were enshrined into state law. It is past time to expand these same protections to include all working people in our state.
Hard-working state employees, including teachers, should feel secure in knowing that the system they’ve paid into throughout their careers of public service will be there to support them in retirement, and will not be subject to attacks deceptively labeled as ‘pension reforms’ by our State Legislature. Wall Street interests want their dirty hands on our pensions to force everyone into their 401K rigged casino plans.
Privatization schemes by corporate parasites seek to take public service jobs, lower wages and benefits, then pocket their dirty profits. They then claim corporate privilege to refuse transparency and accountability. Think for-profit charter school rackets, private prisons, environmental services, public transport, toll roads. We should not and must not stand for this.