Union files lawsuit over Iowa law that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers

From [HERE] An Iowa union filed a lawsuit [materials] Monday challenging a new Iowa law [House File 291, PDF] that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61 [union website] argues that the law violates language in the Iowa Constitution ensuring equality to citizens and should be blocked. The union stated [AP report] that the lawsuit emphasizes parts of the law that exempt certain public safety employees from taking part in negotiations. The lawsuit outlines that by establishing two classes of public employees, the law violates the Iowa constitutional requirement for "uniform operation" on laws of general nature and grants privileges not equally available to all citizens. Governor Terry Branstad [official website] has argued [press release] that the law gives more flexibility to local government and school districts with their budgets and provides employers the opportunities to reward good employees.

The fight between the government and unions have intensified over the last few years. Earlier this month Missouri lawmakers sent a "right to work" proposal [JURIST report] to Governor Eric Greitens preventing unions from requiring workers to pay dues. In March a divided Supreme Court affirmed [JURIST report] a Ninth Circuit decision in favor of unions on opt-out policies requiring union workers to affirmatively opt-out of paying dues not directly used for collective bargaining. In January 2015 the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] on collective bargaining agreement language on whether benefits last indefinitely.