Iowa Teachers Stuck with Unwanted Representation


Despite the change in Iowa’s public sector bargaining laws, some teachers will still be forced to undergo union representation they did not vote for. Briana PFannenstiel has the story in the Des Moines Register.

Thirteen bargaining units representing nearly 1,300 Iowa teachers and faculty have voted overwhelmingly to maintain their union affiliations in the first wave of elections required under Iowa’s new collective bargaining laws.

Iowa Public Employment Relations Board staff tallied votes Tuesday, as the two-week voting period drew to a close.

Of the 1,291 eligible voters, 1,101 voted in favor of maintaining their union’s bargaining unit while 27 voted to dissolve them. Sixteen ballots were voided and 147 people did not vote.

Now, public-sector unions must re-certify every time they face a new contract negotiation — typically every two or three years.

Legislative Republicans who crafted the law say the change was intended to make sure unions are being held accountable to all of their members. But labor leaders and union activists say it’s an unfair burden designed to reduce the number of unions across the state and weaken their influence.

In this first wave of voting, about 89 percent of all eligible voters participated in the election, the publicly available vote tallies show. Just 147 people did not vote.

The September elections were conducted with mail-in ballots. This next round will be done online and over the phone.