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'The Watchdog'

Legislature Approves Collective Bargaining Reform

posted on February 17, 2017

“This is good for Iowa, no matter what the union tries to tell you. Our local officials will have the ability to make more decisions that benefit their schools, cities, counties, AEA’s, community colleges, and the state itself.”
– Sen. Jason Schultz

 

 

Collective Bargaining Reform Approved

This week collective bargaining reform was approved by the Iowa House and Senate. Governor Branstad is expected to sign the bill as soon as possible. With this reform, a system is now in place that’s able to provide cost savings without having to cut jobs or services for school districts and city, county, or state government.

An editorial by the Quad City Times stated, “The taxpayer does stand to gain from the overhaul. Health care costs annually spike, particularly at local government and school districts. And, year after year, union power insures it’s the taxpayer that picks up most of the tab. A single, statewide health care cohort equates to better rates and a better deal for taxpayers.”

The collective bargaining reform as passed will:

  • End the practice of state government payroll systems collecting union dues. Iowa taxpayers had been footing the bill for collecting union membership dues. Union dues are used to influence legislative activity.
  • Require bargaining units to hold re-certifications elections for all employees in the calendar year prior to negotiations. Most government unions in Iowa have not had a re-certification vote in over 40 years. That means almost all employees have not had the opportunity to choose a voice to negotiate for them.
  • Prohibit an arbitrator from considering previous bargaining agreements and the consideration of the government’s ability to raise taxes in order to pay for employee benefits. Previously, arbitrators could consider the power of the state “to levy taxes and appropriate funds for the conduct of its operations.” An arbitrator’s award cannot exceed the lesser of 3% annually or the consumer price index percentage.

Contrary to what anti-reform legislators said on the floor during debate in the House and Senate, this bill will NOT:

  • Repeal the right to collectively bargain.
  • Impact Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS).
  • Remove health insurance. Public employers are required to offer health insurance.
  • Cap employee raises.
  • Eliminate “proper cause” protections from public employees.
  • Change an employee’s right to discuss or negotiate on their own accord with their employer about any topic.

Senator Jason Schultz said in a Facebook post, “This is not a budget cutting bill. The hope is to save tax dollars and get better services through better management.”

For decades, Iowa’s collective bargaining law has put taxpayers at a disadvantage. The changes to Chapter 20 will bring a balance back to the system. This will be a better deal for taxpayers and an opportunity for our hard working public employees to be rewarded.

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“Why do we need this bill? Because we have listened to those locally elected officials and others and we have heard how the process has tied their hands.”
– Rep. Steven Holt

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Attend and Get Active!

Last November, your voice was clearly heard when you voted. Now, your legislators need your support again. Pro-taxpayer legislators are being attacked for defending Iowa’s budget.

Attend your forum and let them know you appreciate their efforts to make state government smaller and smarter.

These are not ITR sponsored forums.

Saturday, February 18

Senator Mark Costello
7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Red Oak YMCA, Red Oak
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Glenwood City Hall, Glenwood

Linn County League of Women Voters Legislative Forum
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Mercy Medical Hallagan Center, Cedar Rapids

Rep. Sandy Salmon
9:00 a.m.
Janesville City Hall, Janesville
11:00 a.m.
Tripoli Library, Tripoli

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Iowa Tax News

Updated daily on:
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