Iowa Teachers Overwhelmingly Reject Attack on Working People

In February, then-Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed into law a bill that was a direct attack on the rights of working people. In the first major test of the new law, Iowa's teachers and faculty rejected the attacks and recertified 13 bargaining units overwhelmingly yesterday.

The new law is designed to make it harder for workers to exercise their freedom to stand together in union. It requires that public sector unions re-certify every time they negotiate a new contract, a process that usually happens every two to three years. Also, the law requires that the recertification votes must win the majority of all employees covered under the contract, not just the majority of those who participate in the recertification vote.

The two-week recertification process for the 13 bargaining units saw very strong participation, with 89% of eligible voters participating. They sent an overwhelming message, when 1,101 out of 1,291 voters cast their ballots for recertification.

Iowa State Education Association President Tammy Wawro condemned the law: "I think it’s silly we had to do this, but our people understood what’s at stake and they voted, and I think they sent a message."

This is the beginning of the process. In October, nearly 500 local unions and employee associations will face similar recertification votes.