Iowa Public Employees Fighting Bargaining Laws

Public employees in Iowa are fighting to keep the state from rewriting Iowa’s collective bargaining laws. One of the changes proposed by Governor Branstad is to remove health insurance from collective bargaining for public employees’ union contracts.

However, Kelly McMahon who is a public school teacher in Iowa attended the conference and advocated for the state not to change the contract laws.

“We are the bus drivers who transport your children safely to and from school, the paraprofessionals who assist the child with autism in the classroom, the school nurses who assist children with insulin shots and tummy aches, the teachers who direct the fall musicals, and the coaches that lead the football teams onto the field for the big Friday night games,” McMahon said.

Present at the conference was Adam Choat, a Pleasant Hill police officer who spoke of the need to keep benefits for those in the public sector. “If we want to ensure that we have the officers we need to protect our communities and keep our streets safe, we need to ensure fair compensation and benefits for those who answer the call,” said Choat. He added that Iowa’s collective bargaining laws have served the state well for the past four decades and give officers an opportunity to talk about training and equipment and safety concerns on the job.

Union leaders said in a statement that schools and public agencies are already suffering the effects of a series of state “corporate tax giveaways” that have starved budgets for schools and essential public services. They said lawmakers should focus on creating good jobs, funding education, and rebuilding Iowa infrastructure instead of “wasting taxpayers dollars on attacking workers and trying to silence the voices of front-line providers.”

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