116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Delegates to an AFSCME Council 61 convention this weekend selected Rick Eilander, a longtime union representative, to succeed Danny Homan as president of Iowa’s largest public employee union.
Eilander, of Newton, has been an AFSCME member since 1994. He worked for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, becoming it chief jailer before joining the Iowa Department of Corrections in 1996 at the Newton Correctional Facility. He joined the staff of AFSCME Council 61 in 2006 as a union representative where he has managed contracts and helped organize locals.
AFSCME Council 61 represents more than 55,000 employees in over 230 bargaining units across Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.
Homan, who is retiring after 16 years as Council 61 president, nominated Eilander as his successor.
“Public workers need an advocate and a fighter in their corner. AFSCME Council 61 has been there for decades, and that will continue as long as I am president,” Eilander said in a statement.
Homan was at the helm of the union during a sometimes-tumultuous period that spanned the administrations of four Iowa governors — two Democrats and two Republicans — when he was the lead union negotiator in contract talks with state policymakers and was a major player in government workplace issues.
The union leader fought against changes the Republican-led Iowa Legislature made in 2017 to diminish the state’s collective bargaining laws that had stood since the 1970s, and led an unsuccessful legal challenge that ended with an unfavorable Iowa Supreme Court ruling upholding the law signed by former Gov. Terry Branstad.
Homan countered efforts to weaken union membership by working to retain more than 95 percent of AFSCME locals during recertification elections required by the legislation.
“I have known Rick Eilander for more than 20 years,” Homan said in a statement. “He is dedicated. He is passionate. He is committed to making sure our members have a fair shake. I know he will do a tremendous job as president, and he will have my utmost support.”