Compulsory Unionism Drops Its Mask in Iowa

New Forced-Fee Scheme Directly Attacks State Right to Work Law

(Source: March 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

For years, the climate for private-sector employees and business owners in Right to Work Iowa has been far superior to that of neighboring forced-unionism Illinois.

For example, from 2003 to 2008, the latest year for which annual U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data are available at this writing, the number of private sector jobs grew by 6.2% in Iowa, more than double Illinois’s 2.7% increase.

Over the same period, inflation-adjusted U.S. Commerce Department data show personal income in Iowa grew by a healthy 11.1%, more than half again as much as it did in Illinois.

Right to Work Iowa has also made it through the recent severe national recession in considerably better shape than forced-unionism Illinois.  Preliminary data put Iowa’s December 2009 unemployment rate at 6.6%, far below Illinois’s 10.8%.

So how are Quad City Area AFL-CIO operative Tracy Kurowski and other union bosses proposing to give Hawkeye State employees a “jolt,” as Ms. Kurowski put it in a recent commentary she penned for the pro-Big Labor “Blog for Iowa”? By making Iowa more like slow-growth, high-unemployment Illinois, of course!

‘Forced Union Fees Are The Last Thing’ Iowa Employees and Firms Need

Ms. Kurowski and other union bosses are twisting the arms of state legislators in Des Moines to adopt H.F. 2420, legislation that would force roughly 18,000 state government employees who have chosen not to join a union to fork over an estimated total of roughly $5.3 million a year in forced union fees, or be fired.

In her “Blog for Iowa” commentary, Ms. Kurowski characterized this power grab as a “start” towards the union hierarchy’s goal of corralling all kinds of front-line public and private employees into unions.

And she freely admitted that Illinois, where roughly 800,000 workers are currently forced to fork over union dues or “agency” fees as a job condition, was Big Labor’s role model for Iowa.

Ms. Kurowski quickly brushed aside concerns that Illinois’s net private-sector job and personal income growth are far slower than Iowa’s, and that its unemployment rate is much higher. The “sky hasn’t fallen,” she sneered.

“Tracy Kurowski’s screed makes it plain that, despite their sporadic and half-hearted denials, union bosses see H.F. 2420 as a major step towards complete destruction of Iowa’s popular, 63-year-old Right to Work law,” commented Matthew Leen, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.

“Ms. Kurowski has also made it plain that Iowa and national union bosses care nothing about the human consequences of their plans. All they care about is increasing their personal and political war chests by making union fees mandatory.

“But forced union fees are the last thing hardworking Iowa employees and firms need.”

Big Labor Knows Its Iowa ‘Window of Opportunity’ Will Likely Close Soon

It’s now been more than three years since freshly-elected Iowa Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, after saying nothing in public about the forced-unionism issue during the 2006 campaign, suddenly declared his support for gutting Iowa’s Right to Work law.

“Mr. Culver’s almost nonstop pandering to Big Labor, perpetuated this winter with a new executive order promoting anti-taxpayer, union-only ‘project labor agreements’ in public works, is a major reason for his gully-low poll numbers,” remarked Mr. Leen.

“So far, stiff opposition from freedom-loving citizens, mobilized by the National Committee and its allies in the state, has denied Mr. Culver the opportunity to sign legislation forcing Iowa employees to bankroll a union in order to work.

“But before Iowa voters can replace Mr. Culver with a pro-Right to Work governor, union bosses seem determined to use every trick in the book to at least get a ‘start’ on overturning Iowa’s ban on forced union dues and fees.

“Knowing their forced-unionism ‘window of opportunity’ will likely be closed after November’s elections, union bosses will fight furiously to ram through H.F. 2420 early this year.”