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AFSCME Appeals Judge’s Ruling in Collective Bargaining Lawsuit

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AFSCME in Iowa isn’t giving up the fight against relentless attacks on public service workers and the services they provide to Iowa’s communities.

AFSCME Council 61 is appealing a state district judge’s decision to dismiss the union’s case against a law that decimated collective-bargaining rights for most of Iowa’s public employees.

In a November 14 press release announcing the filing of the appeal, Council 61 President Danny Homan said, “From day one, we have recognized the likelihood that this case would end up in the Iowa Supreme Court.” 

State lawmakers “thought they could silence us by gutting the collective bargaining law, but they underestimated the power of working Iowans determined to reclaim their rights,” Homan said.

Photo Credit: AFSCME Council 61
Photo Credit: AFSCME Council 61

AFSCME sued in February after the Iowa Legislature passed House File 291, which made drastic changes to public sector collective bargaining. The bill limited negotiations to base pay for most public employees and took away workers’ ability to bargain over health insurance, seniority, layoffs, transfers, dues deduction and other matters. Yet, bargaining units with at least 30 percent of their members classified as public safety employees were excluded from the law.

In its appeal, AFSCME argued that the 30 percent classification exemption violates Iowa’s constitution. However, in late October, Chief District Judge Arthur Gamble ruled in favor of the state and dismissed AFSCME’s case.

Council 61 remains undeterred.

“We have no timeline for knowing whether or not the Supreme Court of Iowa will hear our case,” Homan said, “but we will never stop fighting for the rights of Iowa public employees.”

Meanwhile, public service workers in Iowa have overwhelmingly decided to stand with AFSCME to fight for their rights. In a resounding vote of confidence in October, nearly all of the more than 1,700 AFSCME-represented county, city and school workers voted to remain with their union.