Friday, March 11, 2011

Iowa reps pass bill limiting collective bargaining

The Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2011; 3:41 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa House approved a bill Friday limiting public workers' collective bargaining rights and requiring them to pay more for their health insurance.

But while similar legislation reducing the power of unions has passed in states like Ohio and Wisconsin, it is unlikely to become law in Iowa. Democrats who control the Senate there have said they won't allow debate on the bill backed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

Republicans who control the House insisted the measure was needed to help address a state budget shortfall estimated at between $500 million and $700 million.

"The state can no longer afford, and the taxpayers can no longer support, health care insurance which does not require the employee to at least contribute something to their own health care coverage," Rep. Ron Jorgensen, R-Sioux City, said in a statement after the vote.


But Democrats say the bill is a political attack on the public employee unions that traditionally support their party.

"Like Wisconsin, Republicans in Iowa will stop at nothing to take away rights from police officers, firefighters, state troopers, teachers, correction officers and other hard-working Iowans," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines.

READ MORE at Washington POST

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