Bill to Eliminate Bargaining Rights Passes House Labor Committee

posted Feb 25, 2011, 1:59 PM by Andy Bock   [ updated Feb 25, 2011, 2:32 PM ]
HSB 117 has passed the Iowa House Labor Committee after debate lasting until 6am Friday February 25.  Representatives supportive of rights to bargain submitted numerous amendments which were all voted down by those against bargaining rights.  AFSCME Iowa has a picture of how important our rights were being considered during the debate.  The bill is expected to go before the full House of Representatives next week.

Public statements by supporters of the current bill have suggested their intent to remove "egregious elements of the bill" (their words) such as ability for public employees to exempt themselves from the collective bargaining agreement and "cut their own deal" (called "Free Agency" by bill authors), but other elements destructive to collective bargaining remain in the bill.
  • Items in Proposed Bill:
    • Insurance Benefits cannot be bargained - Management has the authority to offer any anything it deems appropriate and can change coverage and premium payment at any time
    • Layoff Procedures cannot be bargained - Management can determine any method to pick who is laid off.  No right to have seniority as a part of the layoff procedures.
    • Any health insurance premium must have 30% or more assessed to the covered employee - would apply to single and family plans
    • Employees eliminated or laid off due to outsourcing cannot have any compensation
  • Proposed changes to arbitration
    • Comparisons to non-public sector wages is allowed
    • Arbitration can decide any outcome, not limited to best and final offer from each side - Reduces or removes incentive for parties to reach a voluntary agreement
    • Arbitrators "shall strive to maintain parity in wages, benefits, hours, and conditions of employment between the public sector and the private sector for comparable types of work."
      • Proposal to compare public and private sector wages is in conflict with the Code of Iowa Section 70A.18: COMPENSATION BASED ON COMPARABLE WORTH. "It is the policy of this state that a state department, board, commission, or agency shall not discriminate in compensation for work of comparable worth between jobs held predominantly by women and jobs held predominantly by men. "Comparable worth" means the value of work as measured by the composite of the skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions normally required in the performance of work."
      • Section 70A.18 does not include comparison of external factors to a classification such as rates of pay in the private sector as an acceptable criteria for determining wages.  Only factors internal to the work assignment should be consedered.  External comparisons are likely to perpetuate existing pervasive gender discrimination in regards to wages, and it is not appropriate for the state of Iowa to encourage such discrimination.
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