PERB Chairman: More Lawsuits Possible Over New Collective Bargaining Law

Sep 26, 2017

A state official  overseeing the massive rewrite of Iowa’s collective bargaining statute for public workers  says he expects the courts may have to weigh in if employees lose their  union representation in first-ever recertification voting.   

The only certainty is there's uncertainty. -PERB Chair Mike Cormack

The new law requires all public employee bargaining units to periodically vote to continue to be represented by unions.    

The Public Employment Relations Board is advising workers that if the vote fails, the contract with their employer goes away.   

But board chair Mike Cormack says not everyone agrees.

"We provide what we believe is our best analysis on that,” Cormack said.  “But these are a new type of elections so perhaps it would not be surprising for us to see this end up in a court of law."

A spokesman for the Iowa State Education Association said these are signed contracts between bargaining units and employers.  

We will look at all avenues to make things right for our members. -ISEA President Tammy Wawro

“We will look at all avenues to make things right for our members,” said ISEA President Tammy Wawro.  “It’s premature to be talking about a lawsuit.”

“The only certainty is that there’s uncertainty there,” Cormack said.

Voting ends Tuesday for several hundred teachers in school districts and community colleges across the state.  

Roughly 475 public sector bargaining units will face recertification votes next month.  That ballot will involve 34,000 public sector workers employed by the state, counties, cities and schools.

Eventually the recertification vote will be conducted for all of Iowa’s more than 1200 public sector bargaining units.

The ISEA and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are already in court challenging the constitutionality of the collective bargaining law.