From Senator Rich Taylor

Written by Theresa Rose on September 4, 2017


Iowa had a bipartisan collective bargaining law that worked well for more than 40 years. Originally passed to stop strikes, it ensured Iowans, employees and public employers collaborated on mutually agreeable solutions in the workplace.

This year, however, Iowa’s Republican-controlled state government took away public employee rights with the passage of HF 291. The new law makes major changes to what may be negotiated and how public unions are certified and decertified. It also added a new requirement that public unions “recertify” every few years.

Union recertification is a vote to determine if employees want to continue to be represented by their current union. To help everyone understand how the new law works in time for this fall’s recertification elections, Iowa’s Public Employment Relations Board is holding information meetings throughout Iowa in the coming weeks.

The Fort Madison Public Library is hosting one of these meetings on Tuesday, September 19, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Iowa’s public-sector unions now have to win support from a majority of employees in a bargaining unit, not just a majority of those voting in the certification election. Previously, the vote was decided by bargaining unit employees that showed up for the election. Now, workers who don’t vote are counted as a “no.” All employees in a bargaining unit are considered voters, even if they aren’t dues-paying members of the union.

A bargaining unit must recertify prior to the expiration of their contract, or it becomes defunct. In addition, all election costs for recertification must be paid in full by the public employee organization before the election takes place or certification is revoked.



Additional information

This is a legislative update from State Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For bio, photos and further information, go to

To contact Senator Taylor when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at

Senator Taylor is ranking member on the Judiciary Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture and Labor & Business Relations committees.