Quad-City area lawmakers voted along party lines on the historic overhaul of Iowa's collective bargaining law Thursday, with Democrats opposing it and Republicans voting for it.
The legislation, which is going to Gov. Terry Branstad, limits bargaining for unions that are predominantly made up of non-public safety workers to base wages. It also changes certification rules for unions and how they can collect unions dues, along with other changes.
Reps. Ross Paustian, R-Walcott, Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf, and Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, voted for the bill in the House. Reps. Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport, Phyllis Thede, D-Bettendorf, and Monica Kurth, D-Davenport, voted against it.
In the Senate, Sens. Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine, and Roby Smith, R-Davenport, voted for the bill. Sen. Jim Lykam, D-Davenport, voted against it.
Mohr, who had held a widely attended public meeting on the matter last Saturday at Davenport's Eastern Avenue library, said unions were well organized. Most of the comments at the meeting last Saturday were critical of the bill. However, he said he heard from a lot of people outside that setting, and he thinks the bulk of the people in his district favored the bill.
"The people who really wanted to see the change were the private sector," he said. Mohr also said that an amendment to the bill made significant changes that helped the legislation.
The change would allow some additional items to be bargained, as well as some other revisions.
Winckler said, however, the amendment made little real change because it only allowed certain items back to come to the bargaining table with the consent of both unions and management. Iowa's current law has a lengthy list of topics that both sides must address in bargaining sessions.
"It really does gut collective bargaining as we know it," Winckler said Thursday afternoon.
Winckler also complained that Republicans shut Democrats out of the bill's drafting and that GOP claims of tax savings won't necessarily come to pass because workers will end up seeking work elsewhere or leaving the state, leading to additional costs.
"We could have had a good bill if they'd allowed us at the table," she said.