After three days of debate, the House passed House File 525 on Friday. House File 525 makes changes designed to save taxpayer’s dollars. The bill does not eliminate Iowa’s collective bargaining law, rather it addresses two things: what is within the scope of negotiations between management and labor along with arbitration procedures.
“We’re leveling the playing field for taxpayers,” said Rep. Ron Jorgensen (R-Sioux City), the bill’s floor manager.
This bill addresses the cost of government in Iowa. Today, 84% of state employees pay nothing for their health care. Republicans added a provision that required each public employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay at least $100 for the own health insurance. Employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which includes state legislators, were previously required to contribute at least $100 towards their own health care coverage in both House File 45 and Senate File 209.
“The state can no longer afford and the taxpayers can no longer support health care insurance which does not require the employee to at least contribute something to their own health care coverage,” said Rep. Jorgensen.
The list of items that will still be bargained for is largely unchanged and still includes: wages, hours, vacations, insurance, holidays, leaves of absence, shift differentials, overtime compensation, supplemental pay, seniority, transfer procedures, job classifications, health and safety matters, evaluation procedures, in-service training, and other matters mutually agreed upon.
The reform measure allows arbitrators flexibility when dealing with contract negotiations. Currently arbitrators are forced to pick either management’s offer or the union’s offer. The bill will allow arbitrators the ability to find a middle ground between the positions and will save taxpayers money.
The bill was approved Friday afternoon after a very long, very open and transparent debate. House File 525 saw 15 hours of debate in the House Labor Committee and approximately 30 hours debate in the House Chamber. There was also a 2 hour public hearing held earlier this week on the bill. The bill passed the House, 58 to 38, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.