Unions vow to fight back after Iowa lawmakers gut collective bargaining laws

Governor Branstad is expected to sign the bill into law

DES MOINES, Iowa - Public workers are furious that their collective bargaining powers are being stripped away and their unions are standing behind them.

The controversial bill reduces public workers' ability to negotiate over issues such as health insurance, seniority and additional pay.

Republicans say the changes are necessary and they're thrilled the bill has passed both chambers.

"Why do we need this bill? Because we have listened to those locally elected officials and others that they have explained to us how the current process is tying their hands, stifling innovation, and efficiency," said Rep. Steve Holt.

But democrats say the bill is a dangerous attack on 180,000 Iowans.

"In five years of knocking on doors in my district not one person has ever said to me, Ourth, you've got to take Chapter 20 apart, it's ruining the great state of Iowa, not one."

"I don't think this bill reflects Iowa family values. I don't think it is impressive to the workers that serve us on a daily basis," said Sen. Amanda Ragan, Mason City.

One of the groups hit hardest by Thursday's vote, Iowa educators.  The head of Sioux City's Education Association says, this is not how business gets done in Iowa.

"We are transparent in Iowa.  We get together and talk about the issues and then we come to conclusions.  This was done behind closed doors in secret and its shameful," said Bruce Lear.

Democrats tried introducing dozens of amendments to limit the effects of the legislation. 
They also spent that time trying to sway their Republican colleagues.

In a rare move Republicans in both chambers moved to end debate early allowing the vote to finally take place.

Still union workers are continuing to speak out against the bill no matter the cost.

"We will remember this.  We will remember the people that did this to us.  Without talking with us.  This isn't the end of the battle this is just the beginning," added Lear.

 


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