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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

February 24, 2017
By State Senator Jeff Edler - R-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

On Thursday the Iowa Legislature passed collective bargaining reforms for public sector employees. This legislation will update the existing Chapter 20 laws for Iowa public sector employees.

The original goal of the legislation outlined was to provide flexibility for our local officials to meet the needs of the employees as well as the taxpayers.

After many discussions from the people of my district. I knew the bill needed to be amended.

Article Photos

State Senator Jeff Edler
R-State Center

The public sector workers often times don't have the choice of what their work conditions provide. The choice they have is where they work. In the process of addressing their concerns, those thoughts were constantly in my head.

The question became: how do we attract and retain public sector workers, while still being equitable and accountable to the people who benefit and pay for their jobs?

The main concern I heard was summed up in one word: security. Security for their families and for their jobs.

As a compromise to the vested parties and applicable laws governing public sector labor, an amendment was made to the bill. This is a summary of the changes made to the intial proposal. The amendment gave security by allowing many items to be mutually agreed upon at the local level to be collectively bargained. It also outlined that a health insurance option was required to be available for full-time employees. The amendment also addressed concerns over job security by reinstating proper cause for termination language, as well as grievance procedures. The local entities then get to decide how to best use these voluntary items of negotiation to attract and retain workers.

After the amendment was passed, the final legislation looked to be a fair compromise that still allows for the flexibility of local county, city, and school officials. It will be up to local officials to utilize the tools they now have to create innovative solutions for the future of Iowans.



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