The state and it’s largest public workers union have reached a two year, $107-million deal that affects about 20,000 state employees.
Under the agreement, state workers will not see across the board pay increases. But an arbitrator ruled, they will also not have to pay any part of their health insurance premiums. AFSCME calls that a victory. "That's important to these folks standing behind me and out there because again, for about the sixth time in the history of our bargaining we have given up wages to maintain health insurance that they currently enjoy." says AFSCME Council President Danny Homan, flanked by union members.
But the governor’s office says it’s a slam to Iowa taxpayers. "We're one of only six states where the overwhelming majority of state workers pays nothing towards their healthcare premiums." says Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht, "Our response is it's not fair for Iowa families who are paying 100-percent of their healthcare costs in a lot of cases to also fund the 18,000 state workers that fall under this contract."
This is only the second time an arbitrator has been used to settle a contract dispute between the state and it’s workers since 1977. The new contract goes into effect July 1.