DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa union leaders approached this legislative session with apprehension but say they never envisioned lawmakers would approve such dramatic changes governing worker rights and pay.
GOP legislators, with support from Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, tightened the workers’ compensation system, severely limited the scope of collective bargaining rights for public employee unions and banned local minimum wage increases. They also cut budgets amid a tax revenue shortfall.
Republicans say the changes ensure stability and will spur business activity. Others describe it as a war on workers.
The director of labor education research at Cornell University, Kate Bronfenbrenner, says the changes may push more workers onto Social Security disability and Medicaid.
Union leaders worry the multiple changes regarding worker rights will spark unintended consequences, calling this session a nightmare scenario for workers.