Iowa education unit votes to unionize

440 voted to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Erin Jordan
Published: December 19 2013 | 3:54 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:06 am in
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A 440-employee state education unit has voted to unionize, according to Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61.

The Education Bargaining Unit, which includes teachers, training specialists and others from 19 departments including education, corrections and human services, voted by a 2-to-1 margin Tuesday to join AFSCME, Homan said.

“I believe they are concerned with the current attitudes the Branstad administration has about public sector employees,” Homan said.

Caleb Hunter, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, said the state will negotiate the education unit's employment contract separately until the two-year AFSCME contract expires. The group will then be part of the AFSCME contract.

"We look forward to a contract negotiation process that is fair to employees, fair to taxpayers, and has the best interests of Iowa students and schools at heart as we work to make improvements to our state’s education system," added Department of Education Spokeswoman Staci Hupp.

AFSCME’s Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement, corrections officers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff and emergency responders. AFSCME Iowa also represents home health care and child care providers across the state and private sector workers at Prairie Meadows, Palmer College of Chiropractic and Des Moines University.

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