Collective Bargaining Dead in Iowa

Legislature Acts Fast in Attack on ISEA

It happened quickly, taking just a few days.

Both Houses of the Iowa Legislature OK’d language in mid-February that bans teachers from bargaining for anything other than base salary.

In a divide and conquer approach, the new law affects all public sector employees except law enforcement and firefighters.

Provisions of the law were made public on Feb. 7. The bill sped through committee hearings before reaching the floor and being approved by both the House and Senate by Feb. 16.

Union officials filed a legal challenge on Feb. 21. If the courts uphold the law, Iowa teachers will no longer bargain for working condition issues like duty-free lunch or due process. Gone are negotiations over salary schedules and health care benefits.

The Iowa measure is similar to language passed in Wisconsin in 2011.

The measure came just months after the November General Election, when Republicans won a majority in both Iowa houses. GOP representatives overrode staunch opposition from Democrats to pass House File 291 along a mostly party-line vote.

Labor issue experts said the Iowa legislation aims to cripple public sector unions by targeting union income streams. Union membership in Wisconsin has fallen 40 percent since 2011.