Public Workers Accusing Lawmakers of Fast – Tracking Collective Bargaining Bill

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The debate continues over collective bargaining at the Iowa Capitol.

Those who oppose the Chapter 20 bill believe lawmakers are trying to fast - track the bill following Tuesdays announcement to overhaul the states collective bargaining laws.

Lawmakers from both legislative chambers held public subcommittee meetings on Wednesday morning. Workers employed by the state as well as democratic lawmakers are asking legislators to slow down and reconsider the revisions.

"A statue that has worked for the public for 40 years is getting a review by the public for two hours in this Iowa Senate?" says (D) Senator Nate Boulton. "I appreciate the workers who have come here. I appreciate their voices and I will be opposing this legislation from going forward in committee."

However, (R) Senator Jason Schultz says the bill will move to a senate labor committee on Thursday.

"We are not fast - tracking the bill at all. There will be no suspension of rules and in fact we will be going through a long weekend to which nothing will happen until next week on the floor."

The proposed changes would take away several issues, workers can currently bargain for such as holidays, overtime and health insurance.

The states collective bargaining laws have been in place for more than 40 years. Jody Butler, Governor Branstad's former education advisor during the 1990's says a law change would set back the progress of Iowa's educational standards.

"The economy in the workforce now is STEM. You are putting money into that and effort into that and now you want to strip away the respect for the profession in this bill by reducing everything to nothing? I am appalled."

Many have questioned if the bill is modeled after Wisconsin's collective bargaining laws. Senator Schultz says while there are similarities with the two states bills, Iowa's bill was not based off Wisconsin's bill.

A collective bargaining public hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 13th at 6pm in the old supreme court chamber.