As a humble rural Iowa blogger reporting on union busting efforts by state Republicans, I was flattered when I opened my comment spam box early Saturday morning to discover a comment from one of the spearheads of this anti-worker legislation, Republican Speaker of the Iowa House, Linda Upmeyer.
At first, I wondered why Representative Upmeyer's very important message was in my comment spam box. But then I remembered that I had changed the settings on my blog to detect copy and pasted spam, as well as BS. As it turns out, her message would probably fit into either category. Because what Linda sent to me was the exact same BS ALEC talking points that Republicans have been spewing all day at town halls all over Iowa. Which brings me to another point about ALEC.
No. Not that ALEC from Saturday Night Live. I am referring to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This ALEC is a conglomerate of almost every megacorporation you can think of, and they teamed up years ago with the Koch Brothers and have bought and paid for almost every Republican (as well as many Democratic) legislators in every statehouse in the country. ALEC claims to be all about helping the little guys, but in reality, they are all about the profits of the major corporations and super-rich who fund them.
And, because they shell out billions of dollars to get their shills elected, and shills aren't known for being particularly bright, ALEC is kind enough to provide them with "model" bills, so their shills won't even have to write their own legislation. That's why the Iowa Union Busting bills are eerily similar to the Wisconsin ones. And it's also where all of the BS talking points probably come from.
I should mention for full disclosure here, that Speaker of the Iowa House, Linda Upmeyer, has served as the National Chair of ALEC. If you would like to know more about Rep. Upmeyer, I can tell you that her bio says she got her BS in nursing, but these days I think she gets most of her BS from ALEC. If you would like to know more about ALEC, please check out these links:
While there simply isn't enough room on this here interweb thingy to post EVERY word of EVERY spammed, copied and pasted comment, I will share some of the highlights from ALEC's, errr... I mean, Rep. Upmeyer's comments, and why I call BS on them.
ALEC/UPMEYER: "This provides school districts with the certainty they need to begin planning their budgets for next school year."
WHY I CALL BS: The existing collective bargaining laws provide timelines that mandate bargaining be completed before the budgets are set. I would know. I used to bargain some of them.
ALEC/UPMEYER: "We value our public employees and the work they do in their communities."
WHY I CALL BS: ALEC Republicans have demeaned public educators and public servants for decades, blaming them for everything under the sun while teachers struggle to make ends meet and use their own money and hold fund raisers to get basic supplies for their classrooms. While they have untold hundreds of millions to doll out in corporate welfare, ALEC Republicans can just never quite seem to find the money to adequately fund public education.
ALEC/UPMEYER: "...many Des Moines union executives are resorting to fear mongering in an attempt to scare workers over what this bill actually does."
WHY I CALL BS: This bill screws over educators. Educators. They have read the entire bill for themselves (probably unlike many Republicans who had it handed to them by ALEC).
ALEC'UPMEYER: "It doesn’t repeal the right to collectively bargain for government employees."
WHY I CALL BS: It ABSOLUTELY repeals the right to collectively bargain on almost every single subject. The only thing left is wages, and even that is extremely limited and can NEVER be higher than 3%. Ever. In fact, out of the tens of thousands of state, county, city and university employees, the ONLY workers excluded from having all of their rights stripped away are cops and firemen, just like in Wisconsin. Why? Because ALEC thinks it would look bad if they screwed over heroes, and ALEC Republicans who send their kids to private schools don't think there is anything heroic about public educators, or any other public servant.
ALEC/UPMEYER: "It doesn’t affect pensions in any way. It doesn’t take away health insurance."
WHY I CALL BS: The bill takes away the right to bargain over both of these issues. Iowa's public employees have had to struggle with rising costs of insurance just like everyone else. They pay more out pocket just like you do. This bill makes it so changes are no longer a subject of bargaining. It means the state could just get rid of the pension altogether and have individual 401k accounts instead (another ALEC wet dream to move all of our retirement savings into individual 401k style accounts that financial firms and money managers can get their grubby paws on to manage at much higher rates). And it means that every public employee in Iowa could wake up to having a shiny new health plan with a gazillion dollar out of pocket premium, and a deductible and copays to match.
ALEC/UPMEYER: "Another provision that I’m really excited about is the opportunity for schools to reward their best and brightest teachers."
WHY I CALL BS: This bill, like Wisconsin's, is designed to lower wages and benefits for all non-heroic public employees. Period. While I am sure that ALEC UPMEYER probably really is excited about it, nobody else is. No one elected them for this crap. They did not campaign on a platform of screwing workers. They sold Iowans a bill of goods to get elected, and now they are only representing ALEC.
Those were just a few of the highlights. I wish I had room for more, but hopefully ALEC UPMEYER can find somewhere else to sell their BS in the radical left wing media outlets (75% of ALL media in the U.S. is owned by about 8 Republicans). And before you go to the barn to find your pitchforks and light the torches and come out after me for being so mean spirited, know this...
We, the working classes of this nation, are not engaged in a casual discussion about minor political differences anymore. THIS BILL, and THIS LEGISLATOR, and the corporations she represents, are literally trying to take food off of the table of working families. They are literally trying to rob workers of their hard earned pensions, slash their wages, and strip them of their rights to bargain, to grieve when wronged, and every other right we have accrued as a working class over the last 150 years.
There is an absolute class war being waged on workers in this nation. This IS NOT about getting even with some imagined union fat cat in Washington DC. This is about protecting the teachers and janitors and bus drivers and city workers and state road crews and 911 operators and every other "non-heroic" dedicated public servant in this state.
But even more than just those workers, THIS FIGHT is about drawing a clear line in the sand and saying NO MORE. No more looting of the pensions and wages and benefits and rights we have earned, one company and one group and one union and one state at a time. We, the people, aren't going to tolerate it any more. An injury to ANY one of us, is truly an injury to ALL of us.
And while ALEC UPMEYER and other Statehouse Republicans are busying themselves union busting and stealing food from the plate of working families, they are using pieces like this one, to act surprised and injured and hurt. Today, these very same corporate shills are whining publicly about a union lobbyist who accidentally sent an email referring to some of them as "douches." And one legislator was even referred to as "cute, but still a douche." To hear Republican legislators talk today, they are almost beyond words with shock and horror by this supposed outrage and affront to all that is decent about humanity.
Allow me to help put this into perspective. These very same people just elected a President of the United States who brags about grabbing women by the p&ssy, and being able to shoot people in the face, and mocks disabled people, etc., etc., etc. And, in my humble opinion, if you can elect someone like that and then act so afflicted by something like this... you probably really are genuinely an actual douche.
If you have ANY further questions regarding ALEC UPMEYER's message today or her BS degree, you may feel free to contact her directly here:
ALEC UPMEYER: " please let me know your thoughts. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 281-3521."
And from the Iowa House Republicans Website:
Linda UpmeyerPhone: (641) 357.8807
1811 N 8th Street
Clear Lake, Iowa 50428
1811 N 8th Street
Clear Lake, Iowa 50428
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) If you are an Iowa resident, PLEASE contact your legislators in the house and senate immediately and often. You may find them here: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
2) If you are ANYWHERE in the vicinity of Des Moines on Monday, February 13th after 4:30pm, PLEASE come and join us in support of public employees at the State Capitol. 4:30pm - 8:00pm INSIDE IF YOU CAN GET IN THERE. RALLY OUTSIDE IF YOU CAN'T!!!
3) Share this on social media with ANYONE who may be in or around Iowa. We NEED your help and support.
This is Wisconsin all over again, folks. And our sitting governor has been appointed as Trump's man in China, so he will sign this crap and ride off into the sunset.