An Iowa Senate committee has approved a watered-down version of pro-union legislation known as "fair share." The bill that cleared committee last night would require government employees who are not union members to pay fees to the union for certain services. An earlier version of the bill had sought such a requirement in all Iowa businesses, too.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, calls that a set-back, but he says the less-aggressive bill is still worth passing. "This is a good bill. It’s something that is a long-time coming," Dotzler says. "It’s deeply personal with those individuals that have been working for years and paying for the negotiations and the benefits that everybody gets, you know, working alongside other individuals who refuse to pay (union dues) but still receive those same benefits."
But Republican opponents like Senator Pat Ward of West Des Moines say even though the bill only applies to government employees, it will still have a chilling effect on the state’s business climate. "I think this is absolutely devastating to our ability to bring jobs to our state, to bring industry to our state," Ward says. "Perception is reality and reality is Right-to-Work is gone in Iowa."
The state’s so-called Right-to-Work law forbids forced union membership on worksites where unions have organized. The bill’s next stop at the statehouse is debate in the full, 50-member Iowa Senate and that could happen as early as today