What effort to end Arizona’s 'Right to Work' law could mean for unions

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, October 5, 2023 - 11:04am

Audio icon Download mp3 (13.35 MB)

Unions are more popular today than they have been in generations. Starbucks stores and Amazon warehouses have been unionizing around the country, and now autoworkers are on strike with the president of the United States joining the picket line.

Just Wednesday, 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers walked off the job in the largest health care worker strike in U.S. history. 

At the same time, Michael McQuarrie says there are serious barriers to unionizing in this country that don’t seem to be going anywhere. But, some piecemeal efforts to strengthen unions are underway — including a proposed initiative here in Arizona to get rid of our state’s historic 'Right to Work' statute

McQuarrie is the director of the Center for Work and Democracy at Arizona State University and a former union organizer.

He told The Show that Right to Work laws go back more than a century in our country. Arizona’s laws have been on the books since 1946, when postwar America was grappling with high inflation and workers had not been allowed to strike during World War II.

The effects ever since have been vast.

More stories from KJZZ