CORALVILLE – Democratic lawmakers have harsh words for a proposal to restrict public employee collective bargaining rights.
At a legislative forum in Coralville on Saturday, members of Johnson County’s statehouse delegation all said they’d work to block House Study Bill 117, a Republican-sponsored bill which would take certain measures off the table in public employee union negotiations.
“It’s not Wisconsin-like,” said Sen. Bob Dvorksy, D-Coralville, referring to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial labor plan. “It’s almost worse because it purports to be less but it’s not.”
Under the Republican bill, health insurance terms and layoffs would be excluded from public employee union negotiations. The bill would also give public employees the right to break from the union and work as a free agent.
More than a handful of other states have taken up labor reform since the proposal in Wisconsin has gained so much notoriety. Democrats said it’s important that Iowa doesn’t go down the same path as the Badger state.
“It’s a nationwide issue to bust the unions,” Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said. “If we don’t do something and if we sit by complacently it will happen.”