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Neighbors Growing Together | Mar 22, 2017

Upmeyer wants to ‘rebalance’ Iowa collective bargaining law

Feb 06, 2017

BY JAMES Q. LYNCH

Des Moines Bureau

JOHNSTON – Although she said legislation to “rebalance” Iowa’s collective bargaining laws is nearly ready for consideration, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, shared few details about what changes legislative majority Republicans have in mind.

“We’re very close to having a bill ready that we can look at,” Upmeyer said during taping of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press Friday. Speculation around the Capitol is that Republicans, who control the House, Senate and Governor’s Office, will unveil their plans as soon as Monday.

It’s been 40 years since Republican Gov. Robert Ray and the Legislature wrote Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code that sets out the collective bargaining process for local and state governments and public employees.

Since then, Upmeyer said, the balance has tipped in favor of between public employees.

“Over the years, every time we’ve created a new mandate, every time a contract is reviewed, it is one more finger on the scale,” she said. “So what we’d like to do is rebalance this a little bit.”

Specifically, Republicans want to look at the arbitration process. Although both the public sector and private sector “compete for the best and brightest minds,” arbitrators are limited in comparing public employee wages to private sector wages when settling contracts.

That, Upmeyer said, “turns taxpayers into an ATM machine. Rebalancing that a little differently would create a little more fairness.”

Following the Senate’s lead, Upmeyer expects the House to Approve Senate File 2 to earmark about $3 million in state money to fund women’s health-care clinics that do not offer abortion – a change opponents claimed would result in more unplanned pregnancies and fewer services in a political move to target Planned Parenthood.

That’s not a new position for House Republicans, Upmeyer said.

“We’ve passed this legislation, very similar wording, in our budget bills through the House in the past,” she said. There are some new members of the GOP caucus, but she expects all of them will support SF 2 because it does “exactly what our supporters, the people at home, have asked us to do and that is not add dollars to abortion providers.”

Iowa Press can be seen at 7:30 p.m. tonight and noon Sunday on IPTV, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World and at www.IPTV.org.

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