For the better part of the last month there has been a lot of comments misrepresenting and distorting the facts of House File 525. We have seen Democratic leadership as well as union leadership distort and misrepresent the bill for their own partisan political gain. I understand that this is the nature of the beast, but the opponents of the bill could have at least spoken about it accurately.
On March 3rd Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated, and I quote, “It is our intent to have our voices heard and to make Iowans know the bill that’s moving forward ends our collective bargaining system in Iowa.” This is quite a statement from the leader of the Iowa House Democrats. On March 8th South Central Iowa Federation of Labor President Mark Cooper also falsely asserts that HF 525 would end collective bargaining with this statement, “This is about the right for workers to be able to bargain in the workplace. That is what this is about. It’s not about economics.” Obviously both McCarthy and Cooper have never read the bill. If they had they would realize that this bill is not stripping away the rights of public employees to collectively bargain. All it really does is reform the law in a manner that eliminates some of the concerns that many Iowan’s have had with it. Of course there is the possibility that these two have read it, but are intentionally distorting and misrepresenting the facts of the bill for their own partisan political gain.
In an editorial in the The Daily Nonpareil Mike Hansen, President of AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61 wrote that House File 525 would “destroy mandatory arbitration, collective bargaining, unions, and the middle class.” Contrary to what Mr. Hansen would have you believe, this bill does not end mandatory arbitration. Instead what it does is enable the arbitrator to make an attempt to reach a compromise when the two parties in the negotiations reach an impasse. Furthermore it would prevent an administration from tying the hands of an incoming administration in the way that former Iowa Governor Chet Culver did after his November election loss. And contrary to Mr. Hansen’s assertions, I can assure you that House File 525 will not end collective bargaining in Iowa. The only thing that House File 525 would accomplish is to reform Iowa’s collective bargaining laws, some of which even organized labor and the Democrats have complained about. Rest assured that should the Iowa Senate pass this bill, and should Governor Terry Branstad sign the bill into law, organized labor will continue to exist in the State of Iowa. And another false assertion made by Mr. Hansen is that passage of this bill will destroy the middle class in Iowa. Again his assertion is that the middle class are union members. He doesn’t seem to consider the fact that the middle class has and will continue to exist with or without the help of organized labor. I can point to many members of Iowa’s middle class that are not represented by a labor union.
After the Iowa House passed HF 525 the Iowa House Minority Leader once again aired his ignorance once again by proclaiming that “Like Wisconsin, Republicans in Iowa will stop at nothing to take away rights from police officers, fire fighters , state troopers, teachers, correctional officers and other hard-working Iowan’s. This bill to end collective bargaining is worse than the bill approved in Wisconsin earlier today.” As I explained in my comments above, contrary to Representative McCarthy’s over exaggeration this bill does NOT end collective bargaining. Iowan’s collective bargaining will not end with the implementation of this bill.
You can see the impact all of this over exaggeration has had on the average Iowan when they themselves end up propagating the exaggerations and misrepresentations the Democrats and the union leaders espouse. Chrisina Manual of Des Moines remarked that, “It’s like, come on, don’t take everything away from us, all our rights.” Of course this sentiment is based on the extreme misrepresentation of people like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Ultimately I believe that the general population of Iowa can and will see through the distortions coming from opponents of HF 525. I believe that they will see opposition to 525 as nothing more than a desperate attempt to continue holding the state government hostage to public employee unions in Iowa. And I am confident that if Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal refuses to allow debate on the bill the electorate will hold him accountable in 2012.