Republican legislators plan to pass a bill this week which would force Iowa’s Department of Economic Development to tout Iowa’s “Right-to-Work” law in its efforts to lure business to expand here. The “Right-to-Work” law bars forced union membership in a business where there is a union that bargains for all wages. Governor Tom Vilsack, who’s a democrat, this morning suggested he’d be willing to sign the “Right-to-Work” bill if it was coupled with a hike in the state’s minimum wage. Vilsack’s republican predecessor, Terry Branstad, signed a hike in the state’s minimum wage in 1990. He says that move didn’t hurt job growth.Vilsack says many Iowans are concerned because the “Right-to-work” law establishes Iowa as a “cheap wage state.”Vilsack says about 100-thousand Iowans earn the minimum wage, and one-third of them are women raising families. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows doubts those numbers, as he says most minimum wage jobs are held by high school and college students. Vilsack says he’d be anxious to see Iverson’s statistical analysis. He says it appears to be a convenient excuse for ignoring the issue.Vilsack says raising the minimum wage isn’t a radical idea, as the republican-led Congress voted to hike the wage, nationally, in 2000, but President Clinton vetoed the bill because it included other things he opposed.
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