At a time of continued attacks against public service workers and their unions, AFSCME members in Iowa proved this week that if we stand together and never quit on our communities or our union, we can be stronger than ever before.
As the results of statewide recertification elections came in Monday night, it was clear that public service workers in Iowa – at the city, county and state levels – are sticking with their union: for a voice on the job; for fair pay and benefits; for improved public services, and more.
No fewer than 99 percent of all votes cast by members of AFSCME Council 61 were in favor of recertifying their union. And every single state bargaining unit – covering 18,594 workers – voted yes.
“Workers once again rebuked a rigged system that was designed to undermine their voice…,” said AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan. “Recertification elections were created by legislative Republicans and Governor Reynolds for one purpose and one purpose only: for public employees to lose their voice at work and to bust their union. What they didn’t realize was that public employees are united, determined, and fed up.”
AFSCME President Lee Saunders celebrated the overwhelming recertification victories across Iowa, calling them “the latest sign that AFSCME members are resilient and emboldened.”
AFSCME members “are unwavering in their dedication to their fellow public service workers and their communities, and they are unfazed by the efforts of extremist politicians and anti-worker special interests to dupe them into quitting their union,” he said.
These victories follow other examples of union momentum across the country – from the rejection of a right-to-work law by Missouri voters, to the massive worker-led strikes by Marriott hotel workers, who are members of UNITE HERE, and by University of California workers, who are members of AFSCME Local 3299. Public support for unions is at a 15-year high.
The union recertification victories also suggest an extraordinary level of momentum for working families that is likely to carry forward into next week’s midterm elections.
“Working people are organized, energized, and ready to elect candidates who will stand with them and make it easier to join together in strong unions, not harder,” Saunders said.
Homan said the recertification elections were scheduled for immediately before the midterms to create “a confusing distraction.” Instead, they became “fuel for the fire that is the November 6th day of reckoning.”
“Public employees realize that this victory, while impressive, means very little if we stay home next Tuesday,” he said. “The takeaway here is clear: Iowa’s public employees are not going to sit idly by while their rights are dismantled. They will vote to recertify their union and they will vote to elect politicians who actually support their hard work and service to our state.”