Public Pensions Are Under Attack in Iowa – NPPC

Iowa is fortunate to have a strong public pension system. The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) provides pensions to teachers, firefighters, and other public employees throughout the Hawkeye State. In fact, one in ten Iowans is a member of IPERS. IPERS is funded at 84 percent, which is a healthy funding level. Despite all of its success at providing retirement security, IPERS is currently under attack by anti-pension forces in the Iowa legislature.

This all started in November 2016 when then-Governor Terry Branstad said he was open to possible changes to IPERS. Currently the Iowa legislature is undertaking an official review of IPERS. The Reason Foundation, a noted anti-pension organization funded by John Arnold, has offered to conduct an analysis of Iowa’s public pensions for the legislature. Reason’s “analysis” will almost certainly call for major changes to IPERS. Reason recently assisted Republican legislators in Michigan in their move to undermine the pension system for public school employees. Following a similar playbook in Iowa would be devastating for working families there

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Education Cuts

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Edmund Burke
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
This quote appears at the very beginning of Martin Foran’s novel, “The Other Side.” (see below)

September 23
The Workingman’s Advocate of Chicago publishes the first installment of The Other Side, by Martin A. Foran, president of the Coopers’ Int’l Union. Believed to be the first novel by a trade union leader and some say the first working-class novel ever published in the U.S. – 1868

A coalition of Knights of Labor and trade unionists in Chicago launch the United Labor party, calling for an 8-hour day, government ownership of telegraph and telephone companies, and monetary and land reform. The party elects seven state assembly men and one senator – 1886

A 42-month strike by Steelworkers at Bayou Steel in Louisiana ends in a new contract and the ousting of scabs – 1996

California Gov. Gray Davis (D) signs legislation making the state the first to offer workers paid family leave – 2002

September 24
Canada declares the Wobblies illegal – 1918

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Union Communication Service

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IFP Statement: Session avoided — keep eye on the ball

Three months after a fiscal year ends, the course should have been clear IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 20, 2017) — The Iowa Fiscal Partnership issued the following statement with Governor Kim Reynolds’ announcement that no special session would be needed … Continue reading

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REYNOLDS BUDGET CRISIS FORCES IOWA TO BORROW MILLIONS

Borrowing $13 million to cover budget shortfall like ‘rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic’ Des Moines, Iowa — Progress Iowa today called on Iowans to take action, releasing a new website to highlight the Reynolds Budget Crisis that has the state to … Continue reading

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Labor Quote of the Day: Mother Jones “If they want to hang me, let them. And on the scaffold I will shout Freedom for the working class!” September 21 Militia sent to Leadville, Colo., to break miners’ strike – 1896 Mother … Continue reading

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Special Session or Cook the Books? The GOP’s Budget Mess

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While the state’s fiscal year ended back in June, lawmakers are still waiting to see if Gov. Reynolds will be forced to call us back into a special session to finally close the books on the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17). … Continue reading

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Iowa JobWatch: Iowa jobs grow, still at slow pace

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Jobless rate 3.3 percent; fourth straight monthly increase in payroll jobs IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 15, 2017) — Iowa payroll jobs showed a fourth straight monthly boost, while the unemployment rate also bumped higher, to 3.3 percent. The Iowa Policy … Continue reading

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ACA Repeal is Back: Joni Ernst Town Halls in Iowa City, Corydon, Charles City

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photo/Bloomberg Tell Joni Ernst how you feel about her previous and future votes to repeal your health care. She has already voted for repeal three times. Ernst voted for Repeal and Replace.  She voted for partial repeal. She voted for … Continue reading

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16,000 Iowans Lose Wages in Overtime Pay Changes

http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/9-13-17 An estimated 16,000 Iowans will lose wages this year after Republican lawmakers and Governor Reynolds made significant changes to overtime pay last session. Nurses, social workers, and public defenders are among the 3,000 Iowans who will no longer be … Continue reading

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Tell your senators to oppose the Graham–Cassidy repeal bill and any other bill that guts our health care.

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We don’t have a lot of time. We recently learned that Republican leaders have been gathering support for an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and enact huge health care cuts by the end of September. A group of … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Joe Glazer
“I dreamed that I had died, And gone to my reward,
A job in heaven’s textile plant, On a golden boulevard.
The mill was made of marble, The machines were made of gold,
And nobody ever got tired, And nobody ever grew old.”
From The Mill Was Made Of Marble 

September 20
Upton Sinclair, socialist and author of The Jungle—published on this day in 1906—born in Baltimore, Md. – 1878

According to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, born a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Ala. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, W. Va. – 1887

Int’l Hod Carriers, Building & Common Laborers Union of America changes name to Laborers’ Int’l Union – 1965

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Iowa can’t expect to get the best out of state workers by waging war on them

Critics of government are fond of saying the public sector should be run more like business: more efficient, more cost-effective and better at long-range planning. Less often mentioned is one measure of any employer’s ability to produce or deliver value that might trump all the others: How it treats its workers.

That’s not just a function of how much a workplace pays employees relative to the demands of their jobs. More telling is how much value an employer assigns to those jobs and thereby, to the people staffing them. Employees who are made to feel that what they do matters and that they’re treated accordingly tend to give their best. Those who feel like dispensable cogs in a wheel are less likely to.

This isn’t just about psychology, though. In crude terms, the employer gets more bang for its buck when it offers a sincere and credible message about the importance of its mission. And that is as important for public-sector employees as private ones.

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Labor Quote of the Day: Martin Luther King Jr.  “The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it…those who attack labor forget these simple truths but history remembers them.” September 18 The Teamsters for a Democratic … Continue reading

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Duffy’s View

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Public sector employees to vote on union recertification

By Carter Howe
howethom@grinnell.edu

Labor recertification votes for public-sector bargaining units began this Tuesday, with many more set to happen in October. These votes are part of the sweeping public sector collective bargaining law passed this past February. The voting will determine whether or not workers continue to be represented by their unions, and has the potential to cripple organized labor in the state of Iowa. Per the new collective bargaining law, recertification votes must happen every time a public-sector union local negotiates a new contract, usually every two to three years. There are currently 1,203 public bargaining units in Iowa, representing about 120,000 workers.

The recertification elections are conducted on the individual bargaining unit level, meaning that two comparable bargaining units, such as local teachers’ unions in neighboring counties, could end up with different results. In order to be recertified, more than half the members of a bargaining unit, not just the members who voted, need to vote to recertify. The new recertification election requirements only apply to public-sector union locals, who represent workers such as teachers, county and municipal employees, police officers and employees of public works departments.

Republicans praise the new recertification process, saying it keeps unions accountable to their members.

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Susan B. Anthony “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations and social standing, never can bring about a reform.” September 16 More than 43,000 oil workers strike in 20 states, part of the post-war … Continue reading

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APPLE CHOSE IOWA. SO WHY THE HANDOUT, GOVERNOR?

Why would Governor Reynolds and the Iowa GOP think they need to bribe Apple to come to Iowa? Apple was likely coming to Iowa anyway because of Iowa’s combination of cheap and green energy. Iowa is one of the few states that offers these two essential resources Apple demands. Iowa leads the nation in developing the cheap, renewable wind energy that Apple and most of the major high tech companies require. Iowa is not only the current leader in providing clean wind energy, it is on track to be the national leader for years to come. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced why they chose Iowa; it’s Iowa’s “world-class power grid!”

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Pete Seeger
“It is better to have struggled and lost, than never to have struggled at all.”

September 15
Some 5,000 female cotton workers in and around Pittsburgh, Pa., strike for a 10-hour day. The next day, male trade unionists become the first male auxiliary when they gather to protect the women from police attacks. The strike ultimately failed – 1845

President Kennedy signs off on a $900 million public-works bill for projects in economically depressed areas – 1962

More than 350,000 members of the United Auto Workers begin what is to become a 69-day strike against General Motors – 1970

Int’l Association of Siderographers merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1992

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Labor and WIN candidates did very well in School Board Elections

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Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO Working Iowa Neighbors (WIN) candidates won over 70% of the endorsed races. “It was good to see so many citizens stepping up to run for school board across Iowa. We are very happy that so … Continue reading

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