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Union leader says bills in Iowa Legislature will “gut collective bargaining for public employees”

State capitol building in Des Moines

DES MOINES – Republicans in the Iowa Legislature have bills on their way through the House and Senate that a labor union leader says will have a devastating affect on workers’ rights.

Danny Homan of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 released a statement today describing legislation that will likely soon pass both chambers in the Legislature and land on Governor Terry Branstad’s desk.

According to Mr. Homan:

Danny Homan

The long-dreaded collective bargaining legislation that was crafted behind closed doors has been released in the Iowa House and Senate, and it’s worse than we ever imagined. The same bill (House Study Bill 84 and Senate File 213) was released in both chambers so that the passage could be expedited and sent to the Governor.
Let me be clear: this bill completely guts collective bargaining for public employees in Iowa. If we could’ve predicted what “Wisconsin on steroids” meant, this would be it. Nearly every topic of bargaining that was mandatory is now illegal. The only thing left that has to be bargained is base pay. Grievances are off the table, there is no requirement for “just cause” for firing an employee, seniority is gone, all dues deductions are gone, and re-certification is required for every contract, plus the union has to eat the cost of that election. These are just a few of the points that take this bill from a “thoughtful review,” as Representative Deyoe suggested, to a full-fledged vindictive attack. As we continue to analyze this bill, we will send additional information that it contains. This bill will move very quickly through both chambers. It could very well be signed into law by this time next week.”

Mr. Homan called on labor supporters to “pack” meetings this week where legislators will be discussing the two bills, or at least call them to ask that the bills be turned down.

“We will continue to … show up and speak out. We’re in for the fight of our lives and this sweeping attack affects all of us. Please encourage your friends and family to join you in this fight; it’s going to take all of us.”

In a February 2 newsletter, Iowa House Republicans took issue with unions and exalted the benefits of a Right to Work state, like Iowa, saying “a main piece of all RTW (right to work) legislation is that employees are not forced to pay their hard earned money to a union that they do not feel represents their views or best interests.

“Unions are like cartels. They try to control the supply of labor in an in- dustry so as to drive up its price—wages. Like all cartels these gains come at the cost of greater losses in the rest of society.”

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