Judge rejects US challenge to Arizona union law

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Associated Press

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 6 at 8:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Arizona has rejected the government's challenge of a state constitutional amendment that guarantees workers the right to secret ballots in union elections.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone says it is premature to rule on whether the amendment conflicts with federal law because it depends on how the provision is enforced.

The ruling issued late Wednesday says the measure could impermissibly clash with federal law, but there are also instances in which it would not. It left the door open for a future challenge once the amendment is applied.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a lawsuit last year, arguing that amendment unconstitutionally interferes with federal labor law by restricting the methods by which employees can choose a union.

The amendment passed as a ballot initiative in 2010 with 61 percent of the vote. Business groups sought the amendment because they fear Congress could make it easier for workers to unionize without holding secret ballot elections.

In a statement, NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said the board disagrees with the decision but is "very pleased that the court recognized that these choices are guaranteed to employees by federal law and cannot be taken away by the states."

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