All-Hands-On-Deck: Arizona Part 1- Election Connection

While both chambers of Arizona’s state legislature have been controlled by an anti-worker majority for more than three decades, significant progress has been made in recent years to elect lawmakers who are committed to advancing an agenda that favors working people. 

In fact, in 2024, only a handful of seats across both chambers need to be flipped to secure an historic union-friendly trifecta consisting of a pro-union governor, and a majority in both legislative chambers in the state. 

Statewide elections in Arizona have also become much more competitive in recent years, with labor-backed candidates winning the gubernatorial and presidential elections in 2022 and 2020, respectively, for the first time in numerous election cycles. 

Momentum Builds to Benefit Hard-Working Arizonans 

Although her ability to pass labor-friendly laws has been limited because of the current composition of the state legislature, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has fought aggressively on workers’ behalf throughout her first year in office. 

In November, Gov. Hobbs spearheaded an effort to ensure workers have access to quality, affordable child care options, especially those in the state’s growing semiconductor industry. 

While the effort is new, Hobbs envisions a plan tailored for workers across all industries that will be adaptive to the state’s diverse and growing economy.

Unprecedented federal funding from President Joe Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have helped spur massive job growth in Arizona’s construction and semiconductor industries. Gov. Hobbs has already committed $4 million to support the Build it Arizona apprenticeship and job training program to ensure a pathway to securing these jobs. 

Hobbs has collaborated with several unions to improve transparency, oversight and enforcement of workplace health and safety rules in the semiconductor industry. 

Additionally, Hobbs’ administration has initiated the state’s first-ever comprehensive program to protect workers from excessive heat. 

Hobbs will not face reelection until 2026. 

Last year, another labor-backed ally who was first elected statewide in 2022, Attorney General Kris Mayes, received the Arizona AFL-CIO’s Elected Leader of the Year Award. 

Upon receiving the award, Mayes announced the creation of a new worker protection unit inside the Arizona Attorney General’s office which will focus on issues including misclassification, wage theft, employer tax and payroll fraud, workplace safety, workers’ rights, and more. 

Arizona Voters Face Consequential Election in 2024 

In addition to Arizona’s contentious state and federal elections, we should also pay attention to an effort that was announced in October to give Arizonans the opportunity to decide whether to remove “Right to Work” language from the state constitution. 

In order to put the decision on voters’ ballots in November, the coalition of lawmakers and worker advocates leading the campaign would need to gather nearly 400,000 signatures. 

Needless to say, Arizona will be a battleground on all fronts in 2024, and Steelworkers are prepared to work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome on Election Day.

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