Thursday, February 9, 2017

Labor WAR Brewing in Iowa


The title says it all. The Koch Brothers, ALEC, and all of their Republican puppets have chosen Iowa as the next battleground in their war on the working classes.
 
Statehouse Republicans looking to one up Wisconsin Legislation, have introduced HF 291 and SF 213 to gut the public sector rights of collective bargaining. The proposals as written strip workers of ALL mandatory subjects of bargaining, except for wages. But wages too, are restricted to cost of living, or 3%, whichever is LESS.
 
If the bills pass as expected, public workers will LOSE grievance procedures, seniority rights, bargaining over healthcare, pension, sick pay, vacation pay, and working conditions. Dues deduction from payroll will be gone, and labor unions will be REQUIRED to re-certify their bargaining units at the expiration of every contract, and many entities only bargain one year agreements.
 
Republicans have even openly admitted that the only reason for not outright repeal of the entire Chapter 20 is to maintain the provision outlawing the right to strike by public employees.  
 
 
At the Iowa capitol complex, things have already begun to heat up as workers have begun to descend upon the building. This Sunday, February 12th, Teachers from across Iowa intend to rally at 2pm at the state capitol, with the largest planned event to follow on Monday, February 13th at around 4:30pm in anticipation of public input from 6:00-8:00pm.
 
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 4:00pm, PLEASE come and join us in support of public employees at the State Capitol.
 
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.
 
We can ill afford to sit idle by and continue to allow them to pick off unions one by one, to pick off retirements one by one, and strip workers of rights, one by one. The Republicans in Iowa, with complete control and bought and paid for by ALEC and the Koch Brothers, are working tirelessly to ram this through and not give anyone an opportunity to fight it. This will all be over in a week.
 
The next few days will be our only chance to stop the hatchet job on half a century worth of collective bargaining law and gains. If there is anyone you can call to rile, rile them today.
 
For Iowa public employees about to lose your rights, please know that this is your last chance to make a stand for your livelihood. If you are waiting for your union to do something about it, you need to think again. YOU ARE THE UNION. And if this thing passes, I can assure you that in short order, you won't have a job, or benefits, worth keeping anyhow. Thousands of Iowa workers and union members will be behind you, but YOU must lead the way.
 

34 comments:

  1. We need to stop these bills NOW!!!

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    1. YES WE DO, TINA! And if people out there don't think public sector bargaining rights have anything to do with their union, they are wrong. The same forces who drafted this legislation are the same political forces who seek to end all of our pensions and destroy all of our unions. And with the unions, so too will go all of our rights as workers. We have to stand up together as a working class, or perish.

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    2. Workers ought to threaten to de-unionize if the legislature proceeds. I say this because striking likely wouldn't be unlawful.

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    3. Johnny, while I like where you are going with the idea, I disagree that workers should give further ground in some possible longshot. What I will say however, and what no union leader who represents the people involved is legally allowed to say, is this... before there was any such thing as collective bargaining laws, workers did not have a legal right to strike. Public employees NEVER had the right to strike. They did it anyways. The laws that republicans are trying to kill now, were created by REPUBLICANS to put an end to teachers striking in the 1970's because it was so unsightly for them to be getting thrown in jail for exercising what should be a universal right to withhold your own labor. Period. It was illegal then. It was illegal during the collective bargaining laws. And it is illegal now. But sometimes, when there is no other recourse, and justice has been withheld, and grievances are not heard, there is NO OTHER RECOURSE BUT TP STRIKE. When is that necessary? Again... the unions will not initiate it. They can't. They will, in fact, do everything in the power to stop it. But, as Joe Hill put it... "If the workers took a notion, they could stop all speeding trains. Every ship upon they ocean they could tie with mighty chains. Every wheel in the creation, every mine and every mill, fleets and armies of the nation, will at their command stand still."

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  2. It's actually worse. The remaining subject for bargaining not only tops out at 3% or the cost of living, whichever is less, if an arbitrator decides 3% is fair the governor can veto it and keep on vetoing decisions until it gets down to management's first offer if they want. It is completely rigged to make "arbitration" a useless and expensive exercise in begging. I don't see how to do this under my name so I'll add it here. I am Karl Schilling, a retired civil rights worker for the State of Iowa and a proud member of the Iowa United Professionals/United Electrical Workers.

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    1. Thank you for adding that information, brother. I did not get too into the details because I wanted to get this information out there. This thing is moving so fast that a lot of activists and union leaders haven't even really heard about it yet. And please stay tuned and stay active. We are going to need formerly retired civil rights workers in coming days and weeks and months as we work to organize here in the state. Thank you.

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  3. This is part of a nationwide push to bust unions and help big corporations profit from EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. This country was built by unions. We must FIGHT!

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    1. Yes. We must. It's fight now, or fight harder later. Workers need to stand together, rise up, and remind them why they passed all of these laws in the first place. Republicans passed these laws, by the way, to stop workers from striking. Guess it is back the old drawing board now.

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  4. These people make me sick..once again it's the good ole boy system..so called Iowans selling their sole to big corporations..the tax breaks given to big businesses has bit them in the ass , and once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of the state workers.

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    1. See... the funny thing... this isn't even about saving money. It's just union busting. Plain and simple. The Koch brothers write the laws, republican legislators rubber stamp them and every worker pays the price. And yes... makes me sick too.

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  5. Why doesn't the state ever mention how much money is being spent on welfare. I'm all for helping families when they are down and out..but not when they make a career out of it.

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    1. I am going to assume that you are talking about all of the billions the state wastes on corporate welfare to major corporations. Because as working people, that's the only handouts we ought to be focused on. Scroll down and see my M&M blog post for more information.

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  6. This bill is complete bullshit. I never heard any of these legislators campaigning on screwing over public sector employees. Hell no, they rode trumps coat tails into the majority for the first time in 20 years because of his talk on taking care of the working class in this country. And now we're going to lose all of our rights, it's complete bullshit.

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    1. Yes. It is bullshit. We have to pull out all of the stops to derail this train wreck. NOBODY campaigned for it. Nobody even mentioned it. Koch Brothers wrote it and their lobbyists are sitting up in the senate galley in $2000 suits orchestrating the entire thing, while republican legislators do their bidding. I say HELL NO. If my legislators vote for it, there will be hell to pay for it. They are surrounded by union people and I will do everything from now until I die or they are thrown out on their asses to make sure their political lives are hell on earth.

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    2. Gov Branstad did warn us last fall that this was his plan. The Des Moines Register published it in Nov. when first union discussions were made with the Police Officers union. And I'm afraid you are right about the Koch brothers and ALEC. This is part of their agenda which Brandstand, Ernst, and Grassley are part of. Not sure how many state reps are involved but I'm sure many. Check on Americans for Prosperity and how that political machine may have impacted local elections. Unfortunately, this has been going on awhile and I'm afraid they now have a strong hold. Haven't seen one Republican yet that speaks out against it. Much of the reason why we are seeing a decrease in educational funding too. They want to destroy public education. Next will be Iowa's environment as big oil wants the pipelines and could care less about our water.

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    3. Every Republican state rep has benefited from Koch, ALEC, and Americans for Prosperity money (all the same thing), whether directly, or from member corporations, or via the republican party. AND some Democrats have also taken some dough from these interests. From now on... we MUST say that if you accept ANY cash from any affiliated corporate interests, that you are an enemy of labor and the working class. Period. No more compromises. We have lived too long under an environment where republicans seek to destroy the working class and everything that benefits us (including public education), and democrats have done nothing to help us. If we have to start from absolutely nothing to create a movement that works for us, then so be it. No better time than the present, because we've almost lost everything we've compromised to protect already.

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  7. The Republican wins across the nation was the Republican party's ultimate wet dream. They managed to get based on voter ignorance and fear-driven platforms. Government is no longer working for the people. We will be slaves to the new government.

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    1. I disagree, at least in part. While Republicans seem to be reveling in their new found power at the moment, their intention of making us slaves has largely backfired. Instead, they have awakened the sleeping giant that is We, The People. I am reminded of the words of UMWA President John L. Lewis, "Let the workers organize. Let the toilers assemble. Let their crystalized voice proclaim their injustice, and demand their privileges. And let all thoughtful citizens sustain them, for the future of labor is the future of America." And everywhere now... workers are organizing. The toilers are assembling at the gate.

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  8. can't believe this shit storm is breaking out here in iowa! I'm sick to my stomach. My company pays increasing dividends every year to its owners, and reports record profits year after year, but keeps telling us we must take less, we are over paid.

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    1. And THAT is exactly why we all need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. American workers need to recognize that we are all in this together. Class warfare has being waged in this nation for decades now, and WE, THE PEOPLE are losing. An injury to one is an injury to all. That is how we must look at it from here on out. It really is all of us against a handful of super-rich and their corporations. The question we need to be asking is... why aren't we winning yet? The answer is... only one side has been fighting all this time. Hopefully, we, the people, will finally get it now.

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  9. I'm sick to my stomach over this republican shit storm. My company pays its shareholders increasing dividends every year and reports record profits quarter over quarter every year, but they tell us we are over paid. I've been taking cuts for 30 years straight. It's time to push the pendulum in the other direction.

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  10. If everyone stood together and walked out of there job that would send a message

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    1. It's really just a question of how bad things have to get before that happens now, isn't it?

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  11. I'm not familiar with ALEC can you explain please?

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    1. Yes Julie, absolutely! ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is made up of almost every mega-corporation you can think of, and they have lobbyists coordinating their efforts in every statehouse in the country through elected Republican (and sometimes Democratic) shills. After giving lots and lots of campaign cash to get them elected, ALEC hands them what they call "model" bills to introduce and pass. That means that many elected officials who win using ALEC cash, don't even have to be smart enough to write their own bad bills. ALEC does it all for them! How convenient. This current piece of union hating, union busting bullshit that we now face in Iowa comes as a direct result of ALEC. And, ALEC is even kind enough to give them talking points so they don't even have to make up reasons why they are screwing us all over! To learn more about ALEC, you can go here... http://www.alecexposed.org/

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  12. While I will be unable to attend any rallies in Des Moines. I wrote my state senator and representing to vote no on these bills. We need to flood their email and phones as well as March to let them know HELL NO!!!

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    1. You're right on, Brother. This has all got to stop. Here and now.

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  13. Until we as Union members understand that we have NO Republican friends & get off our asses in the next 2 years & turn this Union bashing epidemic around, this legislation is a mere introduction to our future. In 2012 I knocked on over 600 doors. phone banked, walked in parades, put out yard signs, wrote letters to the newspapers for my local state Senator. That Democratic Senator won by 128 votes with over 14,000 votes cast & that kept the Dems in control of the Senate by a 26-24 margin. If one person can make that much difference, think what thousands of us can accomplish. As stated above, U (YOU) is the first letter in Union. Union people were killed. beaten & jailed in order for us to have a descent way of life. Our benefits weren't just dropped from the sky one day. Donating some time seems a small price for us to pay in order to preserve those values. Don't wait for the other person to do it, GET INVOLVED!!! Mark Cottrell Retired Field Rep LIUNA Locals 340 & 43

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    1. Brother Cottrell,
      First, THANK YOU for your continued commitment to the preservation of the rights that we all have inherited and enjoy. Complacency and to some extent, success, has killed the movement. Members ask what "the union" is going to do about this. Meanwhile, in Washington, union leaders wonder when "the union members" are going to wake up and do something about this.

      I am, however, inspired today. In what may appear to be our darkest hour, union members and even non-union workers and beginning to sit up and take notice, and take real action. Union leadership, too, are beginning to see that if we continue business as usual, there won't be any business left to conduct soon. And the whole of unions are beginning to act like... well... unions again. And this gives me hope. YES... we need to carry this momentum into the next election cycle. But we also need to use it to create something worthy of campaigning for. We need to demand a new kind of candidate and legislator at every level of government. We have to say NO MORE to corporate apologists on the left who take money from labor with one hand, and money from corporations with the other. Compromise has led us here. Creating an uncompromising vision of working class values will deliver us to the promised land. There are a handful of super rich 1%ers pulling all of the strings for 380 million working class people. It is time to take it all back.

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  14. This was accidentally placed in a comment box on another article. Have reposted here...

    Here is a response I received from Rep.Chuck Isenhart.
    "I am with you. Are the teachers organizing to oppose the bills and defend worker rights and the rights of others this legislative session? There are legislators in Eastern Iowa who need to be lobbied. I encourage you to contact Pete Hird of IBEW Local 704. He is helping to coordinate local efforts to mobilize people on these and other bills:

    pete@ibew704.com
    563-542-5546

    Chuck Isenhart

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  15. I am a vocational counselor for the state of Iowa. I help veterans and people with disabilities get jobs. We as a people need to refocus ourselves and help one another. Private and public employees alike. What is happening in our country and state makes me sad to be an Iowan and an American. We are better than this. We do not need to lay down and allow the Uber rich to get richer and take it out on us. I will be in Des Moines tomorrow. Please come help us, for god sake help yourselves.

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    1. Thank you, Paul. YOU are the people we are fighting for, brother. We, the people, appreciate your work and what you do for this state and this nation. And we will be at the capitol to show our appreciation to you. There is a long road ahead of us toward wresting power back from corporate control, but it starts here and now. See you at the capitol.

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  16. Just heard the State gutted all CBA negotiations except wages from my partner who has been down there tonight. Imagine what will happen to us the Federal sector. What has this country become? Been writing and calling to no avail. What will happen to the food we protect? What will happen to our Veterans and elderly? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Stand up for all Unions! Keep the calls going!

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    1. What will happen, indeed. For years I have been saying to people, men and women have marched and struck and starved and died for our rights. The only thing we had to do to maintain what we inherited was make phone calls and go vote for people based on OUR bread and butter issues. And we couldn't even do that? And here we are now. The good news is however, we may now start to look forward to a day in the very near future when we can start to act like UNION people again finally. There will be nothing left to worry about saving, and no treasure left in the coffers to protect by following the laws. STRIKE. STRIKE. STRIKE. Will again be the order of the day when the grievances and slights and indignities become a burden to great to bare. STRIKE.

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