LETTERS: Worker bill could void freedoms for Iowans

Dan Culhane

At times, reading through the Iowa Code is a challenge. One section that is very clear, however, is the section on Labor Union Membership (Chapter 731).

The section begins as follows: “It is declared to be the policy of the state of Iowa that no person within its boundaries shall be deprived of the right to work at the person’s chosen occupation for any employer because of membership in, affiliation with, withdrawal or expulsion from or refusal to join, any labor union, organization or association, and any contract which contravenes this policy is illegal and void.”

The code goes on to deem “unlawful” any activities that deny employment to anyone not joining a union, deduct union fees from non-members or make union membership a prerequisite for employment.

These are basic freedoms and rights of the Iowa worker … and they are under attack.

Currently the Iowa House of Representatives is considering a bill that would not only void these freedoms for Iowans, but it would nullify Iowa’s “Right To Work” status that is so critical to continued economic development in our loved state.

House File 2420 would require non-union member public employees to pay fees to the union even if they don’t want to join.

Consider this additional fee of $250 to $400 taken out of salaries of those – like many ISU merit employees – who have already been forced to take unpaid furlough days this year.

Whose rights are those?

The Ames Chamber of Commerce is encouraging everyone to contact our legislators  representing Ames and Story County and strongly encourage them to vote in opposition of HF 2420:

Taking away a worker’s ability to abstain from organization membership is unconstitutional.

Economic development efforts – including job creation and business expansion – are severely hindered for non “right-to-work” states.

    The public sector affected by this specific legislation may be a gateway to expanded union mandated fees for the private sector.

Please contact Representative Lisa Heddens ([email protected]), Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell ([email protected]), and Senator Herman Quirmbach ([email protected]) immediately and tell them to protect our rights, and our right-to-work status, by voting against HF 2420’s so-called “fair share.”

Dan Culhane, CEcD is the president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames economic Development Commission.