Largest Public Sector Union Files Lawsuit Against Bargaining Law

Feb 20, 2017

The state’s largest public sector labor union has filed a lawsuit that says a new collective bargaining law is unconstitutional. The lawsuit seeks to halt immediate enforcement to the changes in the law that Gov. Terry Branstad signed Friday. After quickly moving through the legislature last week, the new law prohibits public sector unions from negotiating over issues like health insurance.

The law exempts certain public safety employees like police and firefighters from some negotiating provisions. The lawsuit, filed in Polk County District court, says that’s establishing two classes of public employee bargaining units and thereby violates the state constitution. 

"I just think it’s inherently unfair to treat public employees that virtually could be sitting next to each other working side by side differently,” says Danny Homan, president of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees 61. 

The law went into effect immediately and affects around 180,000 public sector union members. Republicans say the law will give local governments more flexibility with their budgets.