Statement by ISEA president Tammy Wawro

on all night debate in House and Senate collective bargaining bills

DES MOINES, IA (02/16/2017) (readMedia)-- A huge thank you to the Iowa legislators who stood strong in the face of their Republican counterparts who would rather debate about working Iowans in the dark of night when our members are sleeping then have the courage to face us in the light of day.

I alternated galleries all night into this morning as legislators took emails from ISEA members past midnight pleading to be heard. I listened in horror as I learned the bill was fashioned by a "secret committee" of Republican legislators who did no research, took no input from working Iowans and acted punitively against unions they dislike.

As ISEA members were getting ready for work this morning, Republicans refused to support an amendment that would have recognized the bravery of our members who work to protect students, along with other public safety workers, as they put their lives at risk in classrooms, schools and on campuses every day. Sadly Republican legislators do not consider protection and dedication to students important work.

I do not know a teacher who would not lay down their life to protect a student.

I am proud to have witnessed the courage of so many Democratic legislators and even the one Independent, spoke on behalf of educators throughout the night. I am proud of the more than 34,000 ISEA members who will persist in the deep care and concern they have for their students, their profession and their union.

It is a sad day that Republicans do not understand or appreciate our work and the work of all 184,000 public sector employees in Iowa.

This fight is not over, we will continue to work for all students and educators. The ISEA has existed for more than 160 years and we will weather this terrible storm, we shall persist.