DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad says he is not pushing major changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining law like ones that have created a partisan uproar in Wisconsin.
However, the Iowa governor said he does want to see health-care benefits for state workers to be set by the governor and legislators and no longer be part of contract negotiations.
“We have a dinosaur contract (set in 1974) where they’re paying nothing,” the governor told reporters Monday.
Branstad said he is “stuck” with a new two-year labor agreement negotiated by former Gov. Chet Culver that is not sustainable. He said he hopes the state employee unions will agree to reopen talks that would avert the need to lay off state workers by renegotiating a labor deal that is more reasonable given the state’s available resources.
Branstad said the proposed changes under consideration in Iowa do not go as far as what is being debated in Wisconsin.
“This is not Wisconsin. It’s Iowa and I’m proud it’s Iowa and we are going to do things that we think make sense to make Iowa more competitive.”