January 8, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Des Moines, IA – Iowa public-employee unions are irate about Gov. Terry Branstad’s efforts to put state workers under a single health-insurance plan not subject to collective bargaining.
Branstad, who now has a Republican majority in both houses of the state legislature, calls the current law allowing bargaining over insurance “outdated” and “inefficient.” His administration is negotiating contracts with state workers on the presumption that health insurance benefits won’t be included, the Fort Madison Daily Democrat reported Jan. 2. “Gov. Branstad’s proposal to take away public employees’ bargaining rights in determining their health insurance plans should concern all working-class Iowa families,” said Danny Homan, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61, which represents more than 18,000 state workers. He called it an “experiment at the expense of working families’ livelihood” similar to Branstad’s “disastrous Medicaid privatization scheme.” The administration offered state workers a two-year deal with no pay increases in a Dec. 28 meeting, Homan added. Read more