While national attention is focused on the melt down in D.C., Iowa Republicans voted to take away collective bargaining rights from public school teachers and many other public employees, dealing what could be a fatal blow, not only to teacher unions in Iowa, but to Iowa’s public schools as well.
Democrats banded together and stood against the sweeping changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining laws. Republican leaders, in a rare procedural move, limited debate time, forcing both chambers to vote on the bill.
Before the final vote, they pressed the Republican majority as hard as possible to not move forward.
“The majority in this chamber owns this horrible bill, and may God forgive you because the working men and women of Iowa will not,” Rep. Tim Kacena, D – Sioux City, said.
But it happened — with a 53-47 vote in the Iowa House and a 29-21 vote in the Senate. It’s expected to get signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad.
Iowa’s law would remove everything from mandatory subjects of bargaining other than wages. It severely restricts even salary issues to the bargaining of base wages.
Teachers could no longer bargain health insurance costs, evaluation procedures and seniority-related benefits. Other changes are proposed to the arbitration and certification process for unions.
“The only thing that we will be able to is bargain over is wages. Nothing else.” said Danny Homan, president of Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 40,000 Iowa public employees. “Wages are not the most important thing that we want to bargain over. It is health insurance, layoffs, transfers … It’s all those other elements in the contract.”
The bill was only introduced a few days ago.
State public employee unions promise to make a court challenge.
Meanwhile teachers should be looking for a job elsewhere. Iowa doesn’t want you.