Governor Chet Culver is giving few signals about his views on four union-backed bills that are set to advance in the legislature.
"I continue to work with leadership and legislators on any number of issues that might be addressed this session including a number of labor issues," Culver says, "and once there is some consensus reached on any issue left this session, whether it’s related to labor or not, we’ll move forward."
Last year Culver, a Democrat, vetoed a bill which would have expanded the topics union workers in state and local government may bring up in contract negotiations. That concept is again on the Democratically-controlled legislature’s agenda, along with a bill that would establish a "prevailing wage" for employees working on government-funded construction projects. On Monday, Culver was careful to avoid tipping his hand when it comes to these proposals, only suggesting there are "a lot of people" who would like to see changes in "some of these labor laws."
"The legislature has a responsibility to address any number of issues and that’s their prerogative," Culver told reporters during a news conference. "The leadership and the individual legislators set the agenda in terms of bills that are debated and discussed every day."
On Monday, a senate committee held a hearing on a bill that would grant employees the right to seek out the doctor of their choice when they’re injured on the job spoke out at a statehouse hearing. A manager at John Deere’s plant in Ankeny argues they hire occupational specialists who are familiar with the types of injuries workers experience, injuries that are most often "beyond" what doctors see in their regular practice. A spokesman for union workers says employees often doubt doctors who are lined up by their employer have the worker’s "best interests at heart."