Goldwater Institute Warns Phoenix and Tempe of Potential Union Dues Violations

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two of Arizona’s largest cities may be unconstitutionally restricting workers who no longer wish to pay dues to their union, according to the nonprofit Goldwater Institute.

The legal firm cites the Supreme Court case Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, in which “the right to eschew association for expressive purposes is … protected” for public sector union members.


Phoenix City Code Section 2-214 restricts the time frame to leave the union to only two weeks out of the year. In addition, multiple memoranda of understanding have been made between the city and labor organizations. Among these groups is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 2960.

Arizona’s Right to Work laws contain even more restrictions, forbidding entities from imposing “the requirement that any person participate in any form or design of union membership.”

The Goldwater Institute’s staff attorney, Parker Jackson, ended his Feb. 17 communication to Phoenix with a warning.


“In order to prevent ongoing and future unconstitutional activity, the City must immediately revoke or revise City Code Section 2-214, the aforementioned MOUs, any offending payroll deduction authorization form, and any other policy or procedure that imposes these unconstitutional conditions,” the letter reads.

The think tank mentioned similar concerns with Tempe over a memorandum between the city and the United Arizona Employee Association. The union currently restricts when members can choose to disassociate and when pay reductions for dues are revoked.

“We appreciate your prompt and thoughtful consideration and look forward to receiving confirmation that the City has taken actions to bring the UAEA agreement and dues deduction form into compliance with the law,” Jackson says.


Though no response time frame is given, the Goldwater Institute suggests legal action will follow if codes are not quickly aligned with the results of Janus v. AFSCME.

This article was published by The Center Square – Arizona and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email