DES MOINES – Even as the GOP-dominated Iowa House of Representatives put the final vote to a bill enacting new restrictions on public employee collective bargaining rights, liberal lawmakers spouted a doom-and-gloom scenario for workers and their families.
Thursday, the House passed HF291 “the bargaining bill” on a vote of 53-47. Representative Sharon Steckman said from Des Moines that “all amendments by the Democrats … were voted down including two of mine; one on adding supplemental pay back in bargaining and the other to do an impact statement for women. The collective bargaining has officially been gutted.”
Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids said the “anti-worker legislation fast-tracked through the Senate and House” will hurt hard-working Iowans, their families and their communities. The Senate conducted a marathon hearing on a companion bill Wednesday night, but debate was later stifled by GOP lawmakers.
“This new anti-worker law takes away the health care security and lowers the standard of living for hundreds of thousands of working families,” Hogg said. “This legislation is wildly unpopular because it hurts Iowa families.”
Hogg pointed out that an overwhelming majority of Iowans who packed the Capitol, attended rallies and overflowing local meetings, and filled legislative voicemail and email inboxes were in opposition to Senate File 213/House File 291.
“Their message was clear: This bill hurts working Iowans and their families,” he said.
Hogg said he is proud Democratic Senators listened to Iowans, especially those who will be hurt the most: nurses, police officers, firefighters, snowplow drivers, teachers, correctional officers and other public workers.
“All of us, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses and other Iowa workers, deserve fairness and a voice in our own workplaces,” he said.
He said the current law worked for 40 years because it simply required Iowans and their employer to sit down and work together. Iowa school boards, city councils, county boards of supervisors, and other Iowa governments have almost always been able to reach mutually agreeable solutions to workplace issues.
“Our current collective bargaining law works. Originally passed to stop strikes, the law has served Iowans, employees and public employers well for more than 40 years,” he said. “Under this bill, cities, counties and school districts are prohibited from negotiating and reaching agreement on health care coverage and other workplace issues.”
However, one Iowa resident disagreed with the liberal lawmakers, saying “if I can walk into the office on any given day and be fired for no reason then I think the rule should apply to everyone. Especially those who are paid by tax payers. If it causes the person working at the counter at the DMV to smile and be pleasant for a change, so be it. There is already plenty of nepotism in state and local government when it comes to who gets hired and who doesn’t. It’s been known for years that to get a job with the state you have to “know someone”. The only people crying about this is those few that benefit. What about those of us who simply have to continue to put up with it? Time to do your job like you might loose it…. just like the rest of us!”