DES MOINES, Iowa—A Polk County judge on Oct. 30 summarily dismissed a labor-union lawsuit filed challenging the
constitutionality of the state’s new laws prohibiting most public-sector unions from bargaining over anything but wages. AFSCME Council 61, which represents 40,000 Iowa government workers, had argued that the law violated the state Constitution’s equal-protection clause, because it allowed police and firefighters to bargain over other issues while denying other public-sector workers those rights. But Chief District Judge Arthur Gamble ruled that for the law to be unconstitutional, the union had to prove that there was no reasonable basis for it. The state argued that giving some public-safety workers more bargaining rights was necessary to prevent strikes or labor unrest that could endanger the public. Council 61 plans to appeal. “We knew from the day we filed this lawsuit… that this case would likely end up in the Iowa Supreme Court,” President Danny Homan said in a statement. “We’re in this for the long haul and look forward to the day that this unconstitutional law is overturned for Iowa’s public employees.” A similar lawsuit by the Iowa State Education Association was dismissed earlier last month.