Senate Democrats Thursday blocked Iowa Public Employment Relations Board Chairman Mike Cormack from returning to his position.
They voted down Gov. Kim Reynolds’ nominee for his role in administering a controversial collective bargaining law passed last year. Cormack’s board oversees the elections public-sector unions must now hold before each contract negotiation.
Sen. Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) slammed Senate Republicans for what he said is an effort to destroy unions.
“Mr. Cormack is nothing more than a casualty of the war you started,” Bisignano said. “And the war will continue.”
Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) praised Cormack and said he did his best in a difficult situation.
“If he is to be a casualty of the war that we started, that can be agreed to because Mr. Cormack has done nothing to lose this job. He has done nothing to not be confirmed,” Schultz said. “I believe he has done nothing but work for the people of Iowa.”
Cormack’s confirmation failed on a 27-20 party-line vote. Nominees must get the support of two-thirds of senators to be confirmed.
Sen. Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) also criticized the Public Employees Relations Board for a recent proposal.
“It’s gone a step further by making it harder to participate and floating the idea and trying to push through a registration process to prevent voters from casting their ballots,” Boulton said.
Cormack backed off that new requirement after receiving negative feedback.
Schultz added high voter turnout for the union certification elections shows there were not significant obstacles.
Cormack is a former state representative and previously worked for the Iowa Department of Education.