October 11, 2019 / Modified oct 11, 2019 4:38 p.m.

Understanding workers’ rights in Arizona

What it means to be an at-will, right-to-work state.

In a state where union membership falls well below the national average, lately unions have made waves in a number of industries, including health care and journalism. Employment attorney Barney Holtzman offered insight on the role of unions and workers’ rights in Arizona. He began by explaining the difference between right-to-work and at-will employment.

“A right-to-work state means that the employer cannot force the employees to be members of a union to work at their place, so right-to-work really only deals with the union workforce,” Holtzman said. “A lot of people confuse with an at-will state, which Arizona is an at-will state, which means that your employment relationship can be terminated with or without cause, and with or without notice.”

Holtzman also explained how collective bargaining works once a union is established and how the contract negotiated with an employer can alter the workplace. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2018 about 5% of workers in Arizona belonged to a union. Nationally, the rate climbed to 10.5%.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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