Iowa State Education Association files lawsuit against House File 291

Lawsuit challenges changes to collective bargaining law

DES MOINES, IA (04/04/2017) (readMedia)-- Today, the ISEA challenged three main provisions in the recently passed collective bargaining bill seeking to remedy the unequal treatment to its more than 34,000 professional educators.

We fervently wish we did not have to seek remedy through the courts in order to enforce our rights. However, the law, which was rushed through the legislature and into effect, treats professional educators and their chosen representatives unequally and unfairly. So, on behalf of the more than 34,000 members and more than 400 local associations we bargain for, the ISEA filed a law suit challenging three main provisions in HF 291:

One, the law creates two classes of public sector employees by creating an under inclusive category of "public safety" employees who enjoy more bargaining rights than the rest; two the law prohibits an employer from allowing their employees to pay dues to an employee organization via payroll deduction, but allows payroll deduction from all other organizations and programs; and three, the law creates an undemocratic election system that counts votes based on population instead of number of votes cast.

The Iowa Constitution is clear. Article I of the Iowa Constitution is labeled "Bill of Rights" and has 25 sections describing the rights of the citizens of Iowa in great detail. Section 6 of the Constitution says: "All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens."

Our collective bargaining law had worked well for more than 40 years giving voice to both employees and employers in a process successfully designed to promote collaborative discussion and agreement. To upend this system and replace it with one that creates two classes of citizens, muzzles important discussion and dissuades open collaboration is an aberration to our Constitution and our fair sensibilities as Iowans.

We look forward to a swift and just resolution to our lawsuit so our members, students and schools may be restored to the community table they worked so hard to set."

The lawsuit was filed around 9:00 am in the Iowa District Court in Polk County against the state of Iowa and the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board.