Fifty-two units covered by AFSCME and 96 percent of the Iowa public employee associations voted to retain union representation during a two-week re-certification election this week.
Polls closed Tuesday on the re-certification elections that are now required by Iowa law.
“We are pleased to see that 52 AFSCME-covered bargaining units won their re-certification votes. In a system where those who do not participate are counted as no votes, achieving a 95% approval makes it clear that public service workers will not be deterred by the continued efforts to take their rights away,” said AFSCME Council 61 president Danny Homan. “These workers never quit on their communities, nor will they quit on their union.”
Three small units representing a couple dozen employees failed to re-certify this year, according to PERB. The units will lose their contracts 10 days after results are made official. They are barred from unionizing for two years.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 oversees 40,000 public workers in Iowa.
IPERB announced 286 of 297 public employee units re-certified this year. The units represent workers in school districts, cities, counties, area education agencies and community colleges across the state. In all, there are 1,134 public employee units in the state.
At least some of Iowa’s public sector union workers have been made to re-certify their unions every year since 2017.
That year, Republican legislators gutted Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code. In doing so, they took away many basic collective bargaining rights from public sector employees.
The revising of Chapter 20 included adding new requirements that mandate public unions to re-certify 10 months prior to the expiration of a contract. Contracts are usually valid for one to five years.
Some of the unions that re-certified this year may have to vote again next year, however that information won’t be made available until after contracts are negotiated this spring.
State workers have two-year contracts. They voted last year and will vote again in 2020.
“The everyday heroes who work day in and day out to carry out the public services our communities rely on have far better things to do than redundantly vote to retain their workplace rights,” Homan said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Iowa GOP has forced them to do. Year after year, workers continue to stand up to the rigged re-certification system put in their way and denounce the union-busting efforts of Republican politicians in Iowa.”
This isn’t the first time Homan has expressed his disapproval of the re-certification election system
“Re-certification 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,” Homan said, following the 2018 re-certification elections.
By Paige Godden