Iowans Defend Right to Work

Under the threat of repeal of the state’s Right to Work Law, Iowans are sending a message to their elected officials: “Hands off Right to Work.”

Saying the union named “fair share” plan would “send the wrong signal to many employers looking to locate and expand in the state,” during a daylong lobbying blitz at the Statehouse covered by the Sioux City Journal, a Siouxland Chamber of Commerce-led delegation “urged lawmakers to leave the law alone.” Dave Dreeszen, the Journal‘s Business Editor, wrote:

Tinkering with Iowa’s right-to-work law would drive business and jobs out of Sioux City into neighboring states, local business leaders told state lawmakers Tuesday.

The six decade-old right-to-work law guarantees workers the right to get and keep a job whether they join a union or not.

Gov. Chet Culver and Democrats who control the Legislature are considering amending the law with a provision dubbed “fair share.” It would require non-union employees to pay a fee for benefits they receive through a bargaining unit.

. . .

“A state that requires employees to pay fees to a union is no longer a right-to-work state,” Sioux City attorney Rita Grimm told House Speaker Patrick Murphy of Dubuque and House Minority Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City.

Grimm said changing the law would put Iowa at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring Nebraska and South Dakota, which are both right-to-work states.

Sioux City officials said they are courting a national company looking to expand that would eliminate the city from consideration if Iowa loses its right-to-work designation.

“No community would be more affected by this legislation than we would,” said Marty Dougherty, the city’s economic development director.

Grimm cited data showing right-to-work states have grown at a rate 65 percent faster than compulsory union states.