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After Republicans won control of the Iowa Senate last year, giving them control of both the legislative and executive branches of that state’s government, they enacted a package of labor reforms curbing the collective bargaining rights of public worker unions. Now the state’s Legislature is finalizing new legislation that threatens the very existence of unions in the state.
One of the measure’s provisions would require unions to be re-certified by a vote of their members whenever a new contract is negotiated. Another provision would require unions to receive enough votes to constitute a majority of their membership rather than just a majority of the votes cast in order to win re-certification.
“Our goal was to create reforms that would allow government to be as efficient as the private sector would be,” said state Rep. Steve Holt (R), who sponsored the measure. “The union needs to be accountable to its members.”
But labor leaders say the measure is part of new wave of legislation aimed at restricting the power of unions, with similar proposals having been introduced in other GOP-controlled states, including Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma.
“This is the playbook, and it’s being rolled out all across the Midwest,” said Charlie Wishman, head of the Iowa Federation of Labor. “As soon as [Republicans] have the opportunity, they move very quickly on these items.” (HILL)