Iowa Supreme Court upholds law limiting bargaining rights for state employees

Gavel and scales of justice background. (Source: MGN)
By  | 

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a 2017 law that removed bargaining rights for many state employees.

In cases filed by the Iowa State Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court ruled 4-3 on Friday that the law withstands constitutional challenges.

Both decisions were written by Justice Thomas Waterman, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who supported the new law. Waterman found the law rational and that it should remain in effect.

Justices concluded the Legislature was rational in giving certain public safety employees the right to bargain over many more issues than those in unions in which fewer than one-third of members are public safety workers.

The unions argued the law violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“Today’s ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court was a disappointing step backward on the long walk toward justice for public service workers. But those who keep our communities safe, healthy and strong are undeterred by this attack. In a system rigged against working people, we know that sticking together is best way to win the rights and freedoms we deserve. Our strength lies in our commitment to never quit on our communities, or on one another. We are more determined than ever to organize and fight on behalf of all working families.

“In the coming months, we will be unveiling new efforts to mobilize public service workers in ways never before seen by the State of Iowa. Now that the Supreme Court has issued their ruling, we move forward with clarity, purpose, and resolve. We will show our strength through collective action, continuing to demand dignity and respect on the job. Day by day, member by member, and arm in arm, we will remain a strong and vibrant force for working people. We will continue fighting to sustain our families, improve our workplaces, and strengthen our communities. No court decision can stop that.”