Trumping Labor: The Republican Plan to Gut Workers’ Rights

hammer unionIn 1989, during the transition from Presidents Reagan to George H.W. Bush, the rightwing Heritage Foundation expressed dismay that “free market” reforms were not moving fast enough. The group weighed in with a burly 900-plus page “Mandate for Leadership,” urging Reagan Revolutionaries to more aggressively dismantle government regulations.

Along with breaking the 1981 air traffic controllers strike and stacking the National Labor Relations Board with anti-union judges who helped decimate union organizing and membership, Reagan had cut nearly one-fourth of Labor Department staff and hacked its budget by about 20 percent. But for many on the right, this radical rollback wasn’t enough: Heritage recommended repealing the minimum wage, resisting employer-based health insurance and child care, and gutting job training programs, among other priorities.

Fast forward to 2017: After decades of dwindling union membership and worker power, and regulatory diminishment under both parties’ administrations, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are pushing a radical Heritage-style agenda that could deliver immediate and long-term harm to workers and unions across the United States—including millions of those who helped elect Trump.


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Leaked House Republican Healthcare Plan a Nonstarter

obama-health-care-logoStatement by AFL-CIO President Trumka on the leaked draft House Republican healthcare plans:

The leaked Republican health plan is a non-starter because it would lower the bar on care when we should be raising it instead. It exposes the fact that Congress is intent on slashing health coverage for tens of millions of Americans and imposing a new tax directly on working people, threatening to destroy the health coverage we earn on the job.

The truth is, the people lowering America’s healthcare under the banner of “reform” have never had to worry about care for themselves or their families. CEOs and billionaires and right-wing politicians get the best care because cost for them isn’t a factor. The rest of us don’t have that luxury. If we are to take a plan seriously, it must show exactly how it will improve and expand coverage for more working people, not put high-quality care out of reach.

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We can’t afford to stay silent

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Friend, Working people across the country are flooding their legislators’ town halls this week to demand that Congress not take health care away from tens of millions of people. It’s hard to believe, but some extreme legislators … Continue reading

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Demand Branstad/Reynolds Release Secret List!

progress iowa2After weeks denying their bill gutting collective bargaining had anything to do with the Koch Brothers or Americans for Prosperity, Gov Branstad and Lt Gov Reynolds invited their corporate-backed lobbyist to the private bill signing. No press was invited. No members of the general public. But at least one corporate lobbyist was there. Unfortunately, we don’t know who else attended.

In response, Progress Iowa submitted an open records request, calling on the Branstad/Reynolds administration to release the list of all those who were invited to attend this bill signing, and all those who attended.

Add your name — demand that the Branstad/Reynolds administration release the full list! Together we can force Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds to reveal who’s really pulling the strings at the Capitol.

Click here to demand the governor to release the secret list

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Editorial: Branstad’s legacy is dissing, dismissing public workers

branstad angryGov. Terry Branstad has repeatedly identified job creation as his top priority. Yet helping Iowans secure employment is apparently not among his goals. Since he was re-elected in 2011, Iowa Workforce Development has lost 27 percent of its workforce. Having hundreds fewer workers makes it difficult for the state agency to fulfill its mission of “providing employment services for individual job seekers.”

This governor values only private-sector jobs. While the economy and state revenues improved, he was happy to spend the public’s money on tax breaks and incentives for businesses that may or may not create decent-paying jobs. But funding for state workers and the important services they provide was another matter. He has long talked about public workers as a liability.

Though the governor never says how many state workers there should be, he just knows he wants fewer of them.


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Attend a forum Saturday February 25

We can’t let up on these elected representative. They need to hear from you how you feel about their votes on anti worker issues, and the many other attacks they are planning on Iowa working families. Please attend as many … Continue reading

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: Mother Jones “In Georgia where children work day and night in the cotton mills they have just passed a bill to protect song birds. What about the little children from whom all song is gone?” February 25 Amalgamated … Continue reading

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Recess Resistance – Save our Health Care

Republicans thought they could repeal the Affordable Care Act without a fight.

Calling Republican members of Congress and showing up at their town halls (for those who haven’t chickened out of holding them) is making a big difference — so let’s keep it up!

On Saturday, grassroots Democrats are organizing rallies and events across the country to let Republicans know we won’t back down from defending affordable health care, Medicare, and Medicaid.

It looks like there’s a volunteer-led event happening near you — will you join Democrats in Des Moines?

Recess Resistance – Save our Health Care – Des Moines
When: Saturday, February 25ᵗʰ at 3:00 pm CST
Where: Neil Smith Federal Building
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
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Today’s virtual House graphic: The real business of business taxes in Iowa

170222-IPP-biztaxes-AndersonOne of many measures showing Iowa to be low or in the middle of the pack on business taxes is a study by the business consulting firm Anderson Economic Group. In its 2016 business tax rankings, Anderson ranked Iowa business taxes fourth-lowest.

In that analysis, Anderson looked at 11 taxes on business, and examined more than tax collections, but also how taxes paid by business compared to income available to pay the tax. Anderson said it used “taxes paid as share of profits, as this measure directly compares taxes paid to business income available to pay the tax.”

In fact, by the Anderson measure, Iowa ranks below all of its regional neighbors except South Dakota, which is lower only by one-tenth of a percentage point.


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On Saturday, thousands of Americans in hundreds of towns across the country will rally in support of health care and Social Security. Will you join us?

obamacareHouse Speaker Paul Ryan told the news media that the House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act will be formally introduced next week.

Reports indicate that it is also likely to dramatically cut Medicaid and end Medicare’s guaranteed health benefits. This is not what millions of Americans voted for last November, and we need to remind Congress that a majority of Americans oppose this extreme agenda.


It is crucial for us to stand up and say that we want health care to be affordable for all Americans — and to expand Social Security for current future generations.

What: Rally to Save Healthcare and Social Security

When: Saturday, February 25th

Where: Click to find an event near you.

We know you value your health care, and want to ensure it will be there for future generations. Thank you for joining us in this important fight.


Rich Fiesta

Executive Director
Alliance for Retired Americans

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State scales back union contract offer AFSCME leader says new law ‘trashes’ 40 years of negotiations

danny afscmeDES MOINES — State negotiators Wednesday offered a scaled-back contract proposal to Iowa’s largest public employees’ union that conformed to a new state law by dropping health care and other fringe benefits in a move the union’s leader angrily said “trashed” 40 years of bargaining.

The state’s eight-page initial offer for a new two-year contract with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — or AFSCME — Council 61 to take effect July 1 proposed to raise base pay by 1 percent each of the next two fiscal years but deleted most of the other provisions of the current labor agreement.

Janet Phipps, director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services and lead state negotiator, said the state’s “restart” offer “takes into account the current law that was enacted” by the GOP-led Legislature and signed by Gov. Terry Branstad last week — a major overhaul that AFSCME has challenged in court to block its implementation.


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Who are ALEC and AFP, how are they influencing our state legislators, and how can Iowans respond?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Join us for a lecture and discussion with national expert Alex Hertel-Fernandez: “STATE CAPTURE: How conservative activists, big businesses, and wealth donors are reshaping the American states–and the nation” 6:30 pm, Monday, March 6 Des Moines Public LIbrary (Mtg rooms … Continue reading

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Seven weeks into legislative session, Republicans still breaking promises to create jobs, grow incomes

**FILE** Shown in this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, file photo is State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Des Moines) Today House and Senate Democratic Leaders pointed out that the Republicans in charge of state government continue to break promises to create jobs and increase family incomes.

“In 2009, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds promised to create 200,000 jobs in five years,” said Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids.  “After more than 6 years, Iowa has gained less than 126,000 jobs, slower than the rate of job growth in the country as a whole.  Instead of working on legislation to create jobs, Republicans are  pursuing a partisan agenda that ignores the best interests of hard-working Iowans.”

“Instead of increasing wages and incomes for Iowa families like they promised, Republicans are planning to pass a bill that actually lowers wages for 65,000 Iowans. Far from increasing Iowa incomes, Republicans are casting vote after vote that will lead to job losses and lower incomes for Iowa families,” said House Democratic Leader Mark Smith.  “Democrats believe we should work together to raise wages and increase incomes for Iowa families, not lower them.”

Republicans have:

  • Refused to help small businesses and farmers who would benefit from coupling with federal tax code changes.
  • Rushed through a collective bargaining bill (SF 213) that directly hurts 185,000 family budgets and will undermine the economies of the communities where they live and shop.
  • Approved a miserly 1.11% increase in aid to local schools (SF 166), even though 61% of superintendents warn this will cause teacher layoffs.
  • Approved deep mid-year budget cuts to community colleges and public services (SF 130) that has resulted in job losses, higher tuition at community colleges, and the loss of 2,440 scholarships for Iowa students.
  • Continue to support the Medicaid privatization mess that has already forced businesses to close and will drive others out of business due to late and non-existent payments by the MCOs.
  • Instead of increasing the minimum wage, Republican lawmakers are working on legislation that will directly cut the wages of 65,000 Iowans.
  • Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation (SF 184) that will drive down construction wages in rural areas, bring in out-of-state workers to do Iowa jobs, and open the door to building Iowa roads and bridges with materials imported from China and other countries.
  • Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation (SSB 1145) that will stop local governments from voluntarily entering into agreements with local contractors—agreements that ensure good-paying jobs, quality work, and cost-effective projects.
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Saturday ACA Events around Iowa

Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer have called upon us to once again make our voices heard. Access to Health Care should be a right not a privilege for only those who can afford it. Organizations across the nation like Our Revolution, Organizing for America, Democracy for America and Move.On are answering this call. Join us to share this message with our community, and SEND a message to our Representatives and Senators. Thousands of Iowans depend on the ACA for their health care. Stand up and be heard before it is too late!

Please RSVP at the following links-

Des Moines- Neil Smith Federal Building at 2 PM
(Senators Grassley and Ernst were invited. Grassley declined, citing a previous commitment and Ernst has not responded.)

Cedar Rapids- Green Square Park 5th St SE at 2 PM

Iowa City- Pedestrian Mall at 1 PM

Omaha- 13906 Gold Circle, Suite 101 at 1 PM

Everyone participating in thiese Events will be required to abide by all applicable laws and lawful orders of authorities. These Events will be nonviolent and will not involve any civil disobedience or other violation of law.

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Legislation stripped public workers of rights | The Gazette

Feb 22, 2017 at 9:15 am | Print View

On Thursday, the Republicans now running our state government in Des Moines dismantled a piece of Iowa collective bargaining that has been on the books for more than 40 years. The Iowa Employment Relations Act (Chapter 20) has proved repeatedly to be a valuable law to all Iowans and our workers during those four decades.

On Feb. 2, House Study Bill 84 and Senate File 213 were proposed by Republicans at the Iowa House and Senate. These bills are said to have been written to save tax dollars and force public sector employees statewide to pay more in health insurance. At least this is what the governor and Republican representatives would have you believe.

HSB 84 (HB 291) and SF 213 were intended to strip public sector employees of their rights as a bargaining unit and destroy labor unions in Iowa — nothing more, nothing less.

Portions of the bills take away any negotiating ability on current mandatory subjects other than wages. This means workers will not have a voice nor vote when it comes to subjects such as safety, insurance, overtime pay, hours, vacation, holidays, seniority, evaluation procedures, procedures for staff reduction and grievance procedures.


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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: W.E.B. DuBois “We must complain. Yes, plain, blunt complaint, ceaseless agitation, unfailing exposure of dishonesty and wrong – this is the ancient, unerring way to liberty and we must follow it.” February 20 Responding to a 15 percent … Continue reading

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Iowa’s G.O.P. Statehouse Shows the Locals Who’s Boss

Cleck here to read NY Time Editorial on Iowa Politics

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Iowa Federation of Labor Files complaint against Koch Brothers organization.

ifl logo colorThe Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, (IFL) has filed a formal ethics complaint against Americans for Prosperity (AFP) regarding the apparent illegal lobbying action of Drew Klein, State Director or Iowa Representative of the Americans For Prosperity.

The legislative session began in early January, and it was not until February 21, 2017 that Klein officially registered as a lobbyist.

The charges officially filed are: Klein is employed as a lobbyist for AFP and has been active in lobbying as defined by Iowa Code section 68B.13 a (1) and (2) for the passage of HF 291 and SF 213 during the 87th General Assembly. “Mr. Klein has been lobbying as defined by Iowa Code and has failed to lobby as required by code and rule.” Said Ken Sagar. “This has occurred basically since session in January of 2017 and has continued throughout these contentious fights over public policy in Iowa”

The recent publicized photograph of Klein and Governor Branstad, at the signing of the two bills, gutting collective bargaining, and makes it very clear to us that AFP was lobbying and using “dark money” to fund for passage of these bills.

The Iowa Republicans worked on this anti-worker bill, in secret, for a long time. They claim they asked for and got, meetings for input from unions, which is not true. The Republicans are taking a page out of  the “alternative facts” process of President Trump White House.

It is very apparent to the Iowa Federation of Labor, that AFP used their dark money to fund, support and lobby for this, and possibly, other bills, that hurts Iowa Workers. Clearly, AFP violated the Iowa Code in their attack on Teachers and Public Sector Workers.  We call on legislative leaders to require AFP to follow the same rules as Iowans do.

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The Special Interest Fix Was In For Iowa Workers – Iowa Starting Line

koch bros specialinterestsGuest post from House Leader Mark Smith

The last two weeks have been the most contentious in my 17 years in the Legislature.

In just 10 days, Republican lawmakers and Governor Branstad unraveled Iowa’s successful, bipartisan collective bargaining law. After watching the events unfold the last week and a half, what we’ve learned is that the fix was in long before Iowans ever saw the bill.

For several months, Republicans, Branstad and Reynolds have hinted at “tweaks” to our collective bargaining law. That law simply requires Iowans and their public employer (school, city, county, etc.) to sit down and work together to discuss issues and reach mutually agreeable solutions in the workplace.

Written in secret behind closed doors, Republicans had months to get the bill drafted with support from dark money specials interest groups, including the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Before the bill was released to the public, another special interest group funded by out-of-state corporations even started running television commercials to support the secret bill. That’s because the special interest fix was in.


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