Wisconsin Governor Rick Walker

Iowa Collective Bargaining Vote Delayed, Wisconsin Governor Encourages GOP

As national news media started picking up the story about the Iowa collective bargaining bill that has Iowa police, firefighters, and teachers in an uproar, the Iowa Senate delayed the vote that was supposed to happen yesterday afternoon. It appeared the GOP majority might be considering the angry protests of officers and civil servants who had voted Republican in the last election, but as one police officer put it, he felt the GOP was “stabbing them in the back” for their loyalty to the party’s conservative values.

Reports from the Iowa Capitol today hint that this bill might be in trouble with all of the public attention, but politicians from other states have been chiming in to encourage the GOP to move forward and strike down collective bargaining.

Wisconsin Governor Gave Iowa GOP A “Pep Talk”

If Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has his way, the Iowa Senate and House will disregard the protests of the very people who voted for them. Walker, who headed up a collective bargaining union-busting bill in Wisconsin in 2011, decided to give the GOP senators a little “pep talk” to encourage them to disregard the protests and pleas of their constituents and move forward with stripping collective bargaining rights in Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.

Union busting GOP Governor Scott Walker
In 2011, Governor Scott Walker pushed Wisconsin to strip workers of collective bargaining rights, including teachers. Now, he is encouraging Iowa lawmakers to follow suit. [Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Governor Walker engaged in a Skype session Monday afternoon with 29 Iowa Senate members from the Republican Party for approximately 10 to 15 minutes during a closed-door GOP caucus meeting. Walker took to Twitter afterward to publicize his input on the Iowa GOP’s strategy for pushing through the bill along party lines despite the potential repercussions in the next election.

According to ABC affiliate KCRG, yesterday’s vote was delayed when both the Iowa House and Senate debated the bill and numerous proposed changes by Democrats late into the evening, before finally tabling the debate and vote till Wednesday. Despite the delayed vote, the bill is expected to pass both the Iowa House and Senate due to GOP support, as the Republicans hold the majority in both legislative groups and have the support of Republican Governor Terry Branstad.

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How The GOP-Supported Bill Busts Up Unions’ Collective Bargaining

The bill in question, which is being debated in both the Iowa House and Senate, would reclassify public employees into one of two groups: public service or non-public service. Those who fall into the public service group would maintain their collective bargaining rights, while those classified as non-public service would lose their collective bargaining rights, essentially busting up any unions. Even though Iowa police and firefighters would fall under the public service category, for now, many were standing with their fellow public workers in solidarity and making some of the most passionate protests against the bill.

One police officer, John Thomas, made headlines with his rallying cry about the bill that he sees as a betrayal to those, like himself, who voted GOP in the last election.

“It’s collective begging, that’s what it is. Half of law enforcement folks I work with are Republicans. And we voted for Republicans because of conservative values. But we didn’t vote for Republicans to get stabbed in the back while we’re trying to dodge cars and bullets.”

Not only are a number of police and firefighters standing up for their fellow public servants, but many also expressed concerns that even though the GOP was protecting their collective bargaining rights on this bill, they would likely find themselves in the same situation down the road when the next bill took away their collective bargaining rights. The current bill would affect other public servants such as teachers.

As news about the bill protest picked up national attention, many Democrats and progressives were less than sympathetic to those who voted the GOP legislators into office. Others, however, called for Democrats and progressives to reach out to angry Republican voters and stand with them in solidarity.

A decision in both the Iowa House and Senate could come as early as Wednesday. Iowans can contact their public officials to voice their opinions in regard to the bill, which is Senate File 213 and House File 291.

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]