Workforce

During the last legislative session, working Iowans came under attack by the Branstad-Reynolds administration. Collective bargaining laws were gutted, recoveries for asbestos exposure victims were limited, minimum wage increases were stripped away, and the workers’ compensation system was stacked against Iowans who put their bodies on the line to advance our economy. Republicans disrespected and disadvantaged working Iowans every chance they got, but Nate fought back at every turn, even leading Democrats in debate for 26 consecutive hours of session to delay the changes to collective bargaining until contracts had been signed. In the 2018 legislative session, Nate has introduced legislation to value our workforce again and restore and expand the rights of hard-working Iowans.

Nate introduced SF 2186 to undo the changes made to Chapter 20 last session, and to expand collective bargaining rights by allowing corrections staff to bargain over staffing levels and firefighters over safety and protective equipment, and restoring the rights of teachers to negotiate fair health insurance benefits and wages. It would also eliminate the artificial distinction between public safety and non-public safety employees and restore seniority rights to employees who have been dedicated to their jobs for years. As Governor, Nate would issue an executive order requiring the state to bargain with Iowa’s public employees in Good faith, through impasse, on all permissive topics and fight for greater workplace safety for our road workers, correctional officers, firefighters, and all the workers called to public service.

To combat the changes to workers’ compensation made last year, Nate also introduced SF 2185 to ensure that workers hurt on the job are able to choose their own doctor. To help Iowans save for their retirements more securely, Nate introduced SF 2088 with Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, to create Retirement Savings Iowa, and SF 2087 to study ways to give non-traditional workers access to a portable benefits program.

Nate also introduced SF 2133, to provide working Iowans paid family and medical leave so they can plan for the future of their families while contributing to Iowa’s economy. Last year, when Republicans lowered the minimum wage for workers in five counties that took the initiative to raise it, Nate introduced SF 156 to raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. Rather than lagging behind five of our six neighboring states, Iowa must become a leader on developing a stronger workforce and creating a livable wage. As Governor, Nate would continue to fight for a $15 minimum wage by 2024.