2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

State, public unions reach labor agreements in Iowa

Justices still considering collective bargaining lawsuit

The reflection of the dome of the State Capitol building is seen in a puddle in Des Moines on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The reflection of the dome of the State Capitol building is seen in a puddle in Des Moines on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Members of three unions representing state employees have reached agreements on new labor contracts that will boost their wages by at least 2 percent in each of the next two fiscal years, according to union and government reports.

According to a report issued Friday by Iowa House Republicans, the state has agreed to pay salary increases of 2.1 percent annually to members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Iowa United Professionals and bargaining units under the Board of Regents and Iowa’s Judicial Branch through June 30, 2021.

Members of the State Police Officers Council settled on an increase of 2.5 percent annually for the next two fiscal years, according to the GOP Capitol report.

Officials in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office and the state Department of Administrative Services did not respond to requests for contract details, but AFSCME posted information on its Facebook page indicating 99.7 percent of the members who participated in a ratification vote approved the new contract terms setting wage increases of 2.1 percent effective July 1 and another 2.1 percent pay hike July 1, 2020.

“The fiscal impact of the new salary agreements is still being determined,” according to the Iowa House Republicans’ Capitol Report. “In anticipation of these agreements, several budget plans put together by House Republicans included additional funds to address the salary adjustments. It is unknown if the Senate Republican budget plan addresses these costs.

“It is possible that Gov. Reynolds will submit a salary bill to fund the agreed upon increases. That would be the type of debate that hasn’t been experienced in the Iowa State Capitol in over a decade,” the GOP report added.

Republicans who control the House and Senate are beginning to fashion the fiscal 2020 budget plan that must be adopted before lawmakers adjourn this session.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The Iowa Supreme Court is slated to rule later this year on legal challenges brought against legislative action approved in 2017 and signed by former Gov. Terry Branstad that scrapped Iowa’s 1974 collective bargaining law and replaced it with a sweeping overhaul.

AFSCME and the Iowa State Education Association filed lawsuits challenging the law, saying it violates the Iowa Constitution by creating separate classes of public employees: some who kept most of their collective bargaining rights and others who lost most.

The law limits most public-sector union contract negotiations to base wages capped by the cost of living, while eliminating such issues as health insurance and supplemental pay as mandatory topics for discussion. Public safety employees, though, are allowed to bargain on a wider range of issues than others.

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.