Iowa lawmakers gut public sector bargaining

Posted Feb. 22, 2017 by

The gutting of collective bargaining for public workers was recently rammed through the Iowa state legislature in a short 10 days.

Iowa was already a Right-to-Work state, but apparently that didn’t hamstring public sector unions enough, so the legislature went after union employees’ basic rights to bargain nearly every single benefit they had.

Under the law signed by their governor last week, Iowa pubic workers will no longer be able to bargain for health care, leaves, discipline, benefits, layoffs, promotional language, or any other benefit, except wages. Union members would be allowed to bargain for base wages only, which could never amount to more than the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2015, the CPI was .07 percent and this year and in 2016 it rose to 2.1 percent.

Iowa has been a Right to Work state for years, but AFSCME union brothers and sisters have held tight to their union and continued to sign up for union membership year after year. AFSCME Council 61 in Iowa represents 40,000 public employees at the state and local levels as well as some private sector workers,

“It’s clear that this has never been about fairness or ensuring employees who don’t want to belong to a union, don’t have to. Iowa was already a Right to Work state,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe. “This is about punishing workers, lowering their wages and getting rid of their benefits—it’s plain and simple,” he said.

AFSCME Council 61 immediately filed a lawsuit against the move to get rid of employees’ benefits and rights. The Iowa Attorney General has already said it won’t defend the state in the lawsuit.

Read more about Iowa:

Union sues over Iowa's new collective bargaining law

Iowa Attorney General Miller won't defend state in collective bargaining lawsuit