(CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa) – The Hawkeye State’s Republican-led government made it a priority in early 2017 to crack down on the ability of unionized public sector workers in the state to collectively bargain. But these lawmakers are learning the Teamsters aren’t backing down from this fight.
After a new law was enacted in February, workers this month were forced to revote on whether to remain in their union. A majority of workers in each unit needed to vote “yes” – non-voters would be counted as a “no” vote. And this week, Teamsters and other union workers made it clear that they are proud to be members of the union family!
Teamsters Local 238, with the help of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, ran 69 state-sponsored recertification elections for 2,200 bargaining unit members this month. Of the 1,888 members who voted, 1,828 voted to remain with the Teamsters – 97 percent of voters. In the end, 57 Teamster units decided to remain with the union. As a result, only 44 dues-paying members were included in units which decided to decertify.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said while the union isn’t happy to lose any of its members, the results are a clear victory for workers. “Given the roadblocks constructed by anti-union elected officials in the state, the results are overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “Teamster members and staff who worked for months to build solidarity and momentum across the board should be proud of their efforts.”
So how did such a successful campaign happen? One word – organizing. The Teamsters reached out to our members in a variety of ways. Whether it was one-on-one meetings, newsletters, postcards, phone calls, text messages or Facebook advertisements, they all made a difference in the final count. So many methods were used to make sure that every member covered by a contract knew what was at stake in these elections.
Iowa Teamsters, whose members include many working in law enforcement, were active in the effort to defeat this legislation. Despite the inclusion of language that would have exempted public safety employees from certain provisions of the legislation, the union refused to back down in its opposition to a measure that would affect more than 180,000 public service workers.