CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A leaked email advises union members in Iowa on how to prank call "douche" lawmakers to push against a proposal to limit collective bargaining rights.
Senate Chamber in the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa
The Iowa Republican Party provided KCRG-TV9 a copy of the email a union member forwarded. The mass email contains a forward of instructions for calling state lawmakers and labels them as either "douche", "gentle", "cop" or other descriptors on their responsiveness. The email was distributed to faculty in the Des Moines Public School system.
Among those labeled douche is Marion Rep. Ashley Hinson who is described as "CUTE BUT STILL DOUCHE". Black Hawk County Rep. Walt Rogers is labeled as "SUPER DUPER DOUCHE". Rep. Michael Bergan (Decorah), Rep. Kristi Hager (Marquette), Rep. Shannon Lundgren (Dyersville), and Rep. Bobby Kaufman (Tipton) are among those labeled as "DOUCHE".
The note provides further suggestions on how to handle lawmakers the union has described as "DOUCHE", including calling multiple times using different voices or different phones.
"If they have been labeled a "douche", just have some fun with them (remember prank calling when we were younger," the email reads.
The email comes from Erich Schmidt, the Iowa Political Director for LABORERS International. TV9 has reached out to Schmidt to find out what exactly the union represents and if there are school teachers involved in the union.
Unions have held rallies and marches several times since Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to limit collective bargaining under Chapter 20 of the Iowa Code. The bill would limit unions power to negotiate to only base pay. It would also allow union workers to be fired without cause. The bill is scheduled for debate Monday evening.
Both Representative Ashley Hinson and Representative Walt Rogers are offended by the email.
"I use phone calls and emails as my way to judge an issue and now it's kind of like it's all fake not all fake but there was a lot of manipulation in this whole process and that's disheartening," Rogers said.
"I just don't think objectifying me and then insulting me is a good thing to do I mean in essence it's bullying and I look at it as these are all the teachers that forwarded it on they're bullying," Hinson said.
Iowa Laborers' Political Director Erich Schmidt sent TV9 this statement.
"This unedited internal document that was accidentally released to the public, was not acted upon or approved by the Iowa Laborers. However, if mild locker room talk is what it takes to get the public’s attention to what the Republicans in this legislature are doing to working Iowans, then the Municipal Laborers have succeeded. Republicans are ramming pre-packaged legislation down Iowa employees throats which would take us back 43 years. They are stripping worker rights and keeping Iowa’s minimum wage at poverty levels. What should be shocking is this legislation."
Both Hinson and Rogers were hoping for an apology.
"So they're calling I guess calling people a douche is locker room talk maybe it is but I guess what they're calling about Ashley cute but a douche you know I think that's sexist and misogynistic," Rogers said.
Both lawmakers did say that they are willing to talk to people and hear their concerns as long as they are civil.
Hinson says she understands the email does not speak for everyone in the union.