Public service workers in Iowa overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment this week to staying united despite efforts by many state lawmakers to weaken their ability to stand together and fight to improve services to their communities.
In a resounding vote of confidence, almost 100 percent of more than 1,700 AFSCME-represented county, city and school employees voted to remain with their union. AFSCME Council 61 Pres. Danny Homan said because of an unfair law and “an alleged voided ballot, we lost one bargaining unit of four employees by a single vote.”
“This sweeping victory confirms what we’ve known since the gutting of collective bargaining rights in February: That unionized employees, both members and non-members, value their voice in the workplace,” said Homan, who’s also an AFSCME International vice president.
He added that Gov. Kim Reynolds and her allies in the Iowa Legislature “turned their backs on working Iowans” in February, when they passed legislation eviscerating collective bargaining rights that had been in place for 40 years. As Homan told AFSCME Now recently, Iowa public service workers can no longer negotiate over health insurance, seniority, layoffs, transfers and much more.
As part of that new law, a majority of public service workers in every Iowa bargaining unit must recertify that they want to retain their union every time their contract is up for renewal.
The results of the first recertification election since February were revealed this week, and the message was clear – Iowa public service workers remain AFSCME Strong.
“I am immensely proud of our members and leaders who stepped up to earn every last vote. We worked hard to communicate the rigged system put in place to each and every eligible voter, and that work paid off,” Homan said. “I congratulate the hardworking public employees who voted to recertify; this victory is all theirs.”
(Contributing: Lisa Martin)