Iowa Teamsters joined other union members in the Hawkeye State late yesterday in calling out efforts to curtail collective bargaining for public sector workers in the state, saying no good can come from limiting the rights of those who serve state residents.
“If we want to ensure we have the officers we need to protect our communities and keep our streets safe, we need to ensure fair compensation and benefits for those who answer the call,” said Adam Choat, a Local 238 member who serves as a police officer in the greater Des Moines metro area.
Choat, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, spoke during a press conference where public sector workers promised to fight any efforts to curb their union rights during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Monday. He noted the four-decade-old collective bargaining rules in Iowa “have worked well at keeping neighborhoods secure and keeping emergency workers safe in the dangerous jobs we serve in. We should not try to fix what is not broken.”
These long-standing laws have protected Iowans for years by ensuring adequate staffing levels, recruitment and retention of top talent, quality public schools and efficient public services. However, some members of the Iowa Legislature have proposed drastic changes during the upcoming legislative session – including reckless, failed approaches similar to those that have already devastated schools, professional standards and state budgets in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Kansas.
The new legislative threats arise as many public schools and public agencies are already suffering the effects of a series of state corporate tax giveaways that have starved budgets for education and essential services. Many agencies have already been riddled by staffing cuts.
As the Legislature prepares to return to work next week, public employees called on lawmakers to focus on voter priorities such as creating good jobs, funding education and rebuilding Iowa infrastructure instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on attacking workers and trying to silence the voices of front-line providers.