Negotiations are only in the early stages, but things are already getting ugly between the State of Iowa and AFSCME union workers.
After seeing the most recent counter offer from Governor Branstad, the union President Danny Homan said, “[Branstad] wants these people hurt. He wants to show everybody that he’s a tough guy, and he’s going to beat up on the unions.”
The state’s offer would freeze pay during the length of the 2-year contract and requires union members to pay 20-percent of health care premiums, in addition to eliminating four vacation days for field workers.
That offer is based on two studies which show union workers in Iowa are paid more in salary and benefits than their counterparts in others states.
AFSCME had put in an offer earlier in November which called for a total of 3-percent in salary increases in addition to the nearly 5-percent raises based on tenure, and did not include workers paying any portion of health care premiums.
AFSCME is the state’s largest union of public employees. Their current contract expires at the end of June, but a deal must be reached by March 15.