Labor groups are asking state officials to make changes in the voting process in union “recertification” votes.
Iowa’s new collective bargaining law requires a vote before each round of contract talks, to see if government workers want to be represented by a union. Thousands of government workers in Iowa participated in recertification votes this September and October.
Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, says the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board needs to make changes before the next voting round, which stretches over a 10-day period.
“I’m paying for the election. We should be entitled to some basic information, like how many people voted in each bargaining unit every day,” Homan says. “It’s unacceptable. It’s unfair. You are hindering the union.”
Attorney Jay Smith represents labor groups. He joined Homan in speaking to the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board last week.
“It is true that labor was retained in the majority, the vast majority of those elections. That doesn’t mean that we’re o.k. with everything that’s in the rules,” Smith said. “The outcome notwithstanding, please do take our comments seriously.”
Smith said public workers who voted by telephone encountered a confusing set of directions. The telephone voting system went down for 12 hours, too. Board chairman Mike Cormack said he’s fielded complaints about the process from public sector employees as well as managers at the government agencies and school districts where they work.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell)