The vast majority of eligible state and local government workers in bargaining units have voted to retain their union representation in this month’s recertification elections.
“I’m elated,” Homan told Radio Iowa. “…I think this speaks volumes. People want to have their union.”
A new state law requires recertification votes before each round of contract talks with public sector workers. Over the past two weeks, members of 436 local bargaining units have voted to remain in their union. State officials say 32 bargaining units will be dissolved as a result of the balloting.
Ninety-eight percent of the “locals” represented by the Iowa State Education Association retained the union. The AFSCME union faced recertification votes in 42 bargaining units. One of those 42 units will no longer be represented by AFSCME, according to the unofficial results posted on the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board website.
Two of the four eligible Carroll County Conservation Board employees voted yes and a third cast a void ballot. Homan, though, is challenging the decision on that ballot.
“With all the problems there were in this voting process, I’m ecstatic,” Homan said. “This proves what we’ve been saying all along. Folks want to have a say at the table. Folks want to have a say in their terms and conditions of employment. Most of our elections, all but one of them, they weren’t even close.”
As a result of this month’s voting, the Service Employees International Union will no longer represent nearly 200 nurses at Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines. About a third of the 32 bargaining units that will be dissolved were part of the Teamster Union, representing bus drivers, county jail employees and road crews.
The Iowa State Education Association will no longer represent teachers in Glidden-Ralston, North Linn and Sigourney School Districts. A majority of teachers who voted in those districts cast ballots to stay in the union, but teachers who did not cast ballots were counted as “no” votes under the new state rules.
Iowa State Education Association president Tammy Wawro called that an “unreasonable standard.” Homan, the AFSCME union’s Iowa president, said it’s an unfair hurdle.
“I think people are just mad as heck at the Republicans that did this to them,” Homan said.
More than 28,000 Iowans cast ballots over the past two weeks in these recertification elections. If their public sector employers negotiate one-year contracts, there’ll be another round of voting like this a year from now.