An organization representing the state’s largest chambers of commerce is opposed to the idea of higher wage requirements for businesses that receive state aid. Democrats at the statehouse are considering setting higher pay standards for businesses that win state contracts or receive state grants and loans.
Iowa Chamber Alliance executive director Dave Roederer says that won’t work for many Iowa companies. Roederer made his comments this week during an appearance on Iowa Public Radio. "It’s real nice. I mean you can always say that we would like for everybody to make $100,000 in this state," Roederer says. "…The problem is that it’s not economically feasible."
Roederer is a longtime aide to former Republican Governor Terry Branstad and the chairman of John McCain’s 2008 Iowa presidential campaign. He suggests the sort of wage requirements Democrats suggest "defy" the laws of economics.
"General Motors is doing a perfect job of that. They are the masterpiece of paying people more money than they can afford to actually pay," Roederer says. "That feels good for a short period of time — until you’re ready to go bankrupt."
The Iowa Chamber Alliance represents the 16 largest chambers of commerce and economic development groups in the state. The group and its executive director are also speaking out against any effort to force nonunion workers to pay a fee for union services. "Why should somebody who wants nothing to do with a union — why should they be forced to join that?" Roederer asks. "We don’t make people to join political parties if they don’t want to. We don’t make them join anything, other than make them pay income taxes."
Democrats like Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs say they’re not talking about forcing people to join a union. Gronstal says it’s fair, though, for a union to be paid a fee when it negotiates for the salaries and benefits of nonunion workers as well as those who belong to the union.
"If ‘fair share’ is so bad and it’s going to make everybody exit a state that would adopt it, why the heck hasn’t every business moved out of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois and moved to Iowa, because they all have it?" Gronstal asks.