The state Judicial Building.

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the law that changed the bargaining rights of unions.

The 2017 changes to the state bargaining rules ended payroll deductions for union dues and limited the number of topics unions could include in collective bargaining based on the number of public safety employees in the union.

AFSCME — the state’s largest employee union sued – saying the changes violated their Constitutional rights. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the district court ruling throwing out the claims.

The high court says “maintaining labor peace is a valid, realistically conceivable purpose and has a basis in fact. The legislature could reasonably have found that giving public safety employees expanded bargaining rights would discourage them from engaging in strikes or sick-outs.”

The ruling also says the change ending payroll deductions for union dues “does not prohibit or restrict unions from soliciting members, disseminating materials, engaging in political activities, or expressing their views. As the State argues, There is a fundamental distinction between the right to associate and whether someone must listen when you do. Declining to collectively bargain over certain topics does not inhibit the ability to associate.”

The ruling says nothing in the law prohibits public employees from joining AFSCME or any other union

Here’s the ruling: Union-Bargaining-ruling-PDF

AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued this statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling:

Today’s ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court was a disappointing step backward on the long walk toward justice for public service workers. But those who keep our communities safe, healthy and strong are undeterred by this attack. In a system rigged against working people, we know that sticking together is best way to win the rights and freedoms we deserve. Our strength lies in our commitment to never quit on our communities, or on one another. We are more determined than ever to organize and fight on behalf of all working families.

“In the coming months, we will be unveiling new efforts to mobilize public service workers in ways never before seen by the State of Iowa. Now that the Supreme Court has issued their ruling, we move forward with clarity, purpose, and resolve. We will show our strength through collective action, continuing to demand dignity and respect on the job. Day by day, member by member, and arm in arm, we will remain a strong and vibrant force for working people. We will continue fighting to sustain our families, improve our workplaces, and strengthen our communities. No court decision can stop that.”

The Supreme Court issued the same ruling in another legal challenge brought by the state’s largest teacher union.