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Iowa Democrats to livestream House’s proceedings on collective bargaining rights

A public hearing on legislation that would alter collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public employees, and a rally to protest the bill, will be broadcast live online by the state Senate Democrats.

The event will be livestreamed at www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats starting at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., Democratic staff will livestream a pro-labor union rally on the first floor of the rotunda, and will switch to the hearing at 6 p.m.

Democrats have said the legislation — House File 525 — is effectively an end to collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public employees. Among the provisions includes allowing the legislature or governor to veto decisions made by an independent arbitrator and a prohibition on public employee unions negotiating health care or retirement plans. It would also allow employees to become “free agents,” who can negotiate their terms of employment directly with employers even if they are in a union shop.

The legislation has already had 47 amendments attached to it, a tactic Democrats employed when the bill was in committee. Lawmakers managed to extend debate on the bill for 15 hours, starting at noon Thursday and ending at 6 a.m. Friday morning, with Republicans forced to vote down 48 amendments offered by Democrats.

Democrats employed a similar tactic when debating legislation last month that aims ensure all promotional materials the state uses to recruit businesses label Iowa as a “right-to-work” state. Democrats introduced dozens of amendments, with each getting voted down by Republicans.

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