Republican lawmakers proposed significant changes to collective bargaining legislation in Iowa on Tuesday. The legislation would affect 184,000 employees, including teachers, corrections officers, and other public sector workers.
Iowa Republicans have control of the House, Senate, and Governor’s office. They have made collective bargaining reform a priority for their 2017 session. Governor Branstad has expressed support for the reform,
“I am very optimistic about the chances that we have for finally making changes that are in the best interests of the taxpayers of Iowa and the cities and counties and school districts, and the state of Iowa.”
The proposed legislation would eliminate collective bargaining for health insurance benefits, evaluation procedures and seniority benefits. It would not remove collective bargaining for wages. Public safety employees would be exempt from the changes, such as firefighters or police officers. It would bar public sector union employees, including public safety employees, from automatically deducting union dues and political contributions from their payroll.
Hundreds of people gathered at the state capitol on Tuesday, both in protest and opposition of the legislation. Conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, argued that it is common sense reform. Other groups, such as the Iowa State Education Association, argued that it lacked respect for state employees.
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(H/t Des Monies Register)