The first test of Iowa’s new collective bargaining law concluded yesterday, with recertification votes ending for 13 Iowa schools and community colleges.
When ballots were all counted, bargaining units in all 13 schools were recertified with nearly 1300 teachers and faculty overwhelmingly endorsing their union representation.
The new law set a high bar for teachers to continue to be represented by unions. In the end more than 1100 yes votes were cast, with only 27 teachers voting no.
The Iowa State Education Association worked with educators at each school stressing the importance of the vote, which included both union and non-union members.
About 89 percent of all eligible voters participated.
“Employees, regardless of their union membership, understood what was at stake and voted to retain the rights they are entitled to receive,” said ISEA President Tammy Wawro in a statement. “(They) voted in the best interest of their profession, their students, and their communities.”
Republican backers of the collective bargaining law argued the periodic votes are needed to keep unions accountable to their members.
If the votes had failed, teachers would have not been able to vote again on union representation for two
Tuesday’s voting was a warmup.
Under the law, approximately 475 bargaining units face recertification votes next month, involving 34,000 employees of the state, counties, cities, and schools.
Eventually, all of Iowa’s 1203 public worker bargaining units will face recertification votes.
“We believe this process worked well,” said Public Employment Relations Board Chairman Mike Cormack, commenting on the first round of voting.
This month’s voting was conducted by mail. Next month’s much larger round of balloting will be conducted electronically.