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Protecting a Worker’s Right to Vote by Secret Ballot

National Labor Relations Board v. State of Arizona

Case Status

Date Filed

June 13, 2011

Last Step

Federal trial court ruled Save Our Secret Ballot constitutional on its face.

Next Step

NLRB declines to appeal, cementing SOS Ballot as law in seven states.

Case Overview

Arizona voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2010 to expand protection for a worker’s right to vote by secret ballot if asked to join a union. On May 6, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board sued the State of Arizona in federal court to prevent enforcement of the constitutional amendment, claiming federal law pre-empts any protection to workers that the state might offer. The Goldwater Institute has joined the State in opposing the lawsuit on behalf of individual workers to protect the Save Our Secret Ballot amendment and safeguard an individual’s right to decide whether or not to join a labor organization.

Case Logistics

The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents 34 individual employees eligible to join a union including construction workers Jose Barraza, Rafael Barraza, R. Scott Brooks Jr., Sandra Brown, Dominic T. Drobeck, Jamie Franklin, Ahelardo Garcia, Angelo Granata, Justin Helwig, Jose Hernandez, Raul Hernandez, Reyes Inzunza, Derek Kaiser, Enrique Lara Jr., Benny P. Martinez, Gabriel Mendez, Eleuterio Miguel, Chad A. Mullenax, Roger S. Myllenbeck, Adalberto Pena Parra, Tyson Petrie, Jeff Phillips, Shawn Riegle, Daniel Rusch, David Santellano, Roy C. Smith, Kelvin L. Steffen, Johnnie Teller III, Marco Teran, Steven R.Tulloss, Israel Vargas, and Harvey Wietting; as well as Joyce McClain, a private hospital nurse, and Raeleen Kasinec, a charter school teacher.

The Institute also represents Save Our Secret Ballot, a public interest group that led the campaign to win voter approval of the amendment to the Arizona state constitution in 2010.

The judge is U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone of Phoenix.

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