Labor Rally Today at The Capitol – Defend the Merit System

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Message from the Arizona AFL-CIO:

I wanted to put you on alert.

Just as the state legislature is wrapping up its work, Governor Brewer is planning to rush through a plan to strip state employees of their rights at work.

This week, Governor Brewer plans to present a nearly 300-page bill that would completely undo the state's "merit system" and make more positions subject to political influence from the governor's office.

And that's just what we know so far. The Governor has kept the bill's text a secret– even to most legislators– in an attempt to keep the public in the dark about her power grab.

Legislators shouldn't be rushing through such a complex, dangerous bill without time for serious debate and input from the public. That's why organized labor will be speaking out against this proposal on Monday at the capitol.

Here's the background: the merit system, also known as civil service, is all about hiring workers based on their ability to get the job done, not on their political connections to the Governor's office.

With the merit system, if a supervisor threatens to terminate or punish an employee, the boss simply needs just cause, and the worker is allowed to appeal to a personnel board to be reinstated in their position. It's not job protection for unproductive or bad employees– they can still be fired– but a common-sense system for ensuring responsive government services free of favoritism or politics.

Getting rid of the merit system won't create jobs, spur our economy or do anything for working Arizonans who desperately need real solutions from our elected leaders.

Our country has had these civil service systems for nearly 200 years. So why get rid of the merit system now?

Politicians know that public employees are one of the strongest checks on corporate power, and Governor Brewer's bill shows she'll do anything to weaken their voice.

Local leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), myself, and other union leaders and workers will be speaking out against Governor Brewer's proposal and other anti-worker legislation at 3:30 PM on Monday at the State Capitol in Phoenix. I welcome you to join us there for a press conference.

In Solidarity,

Rebekah Friend
Executive Director, Secretary/Treasurer
Arizona AFL-CIO

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