Dozens gather for student-led "Save Our Labor Center" rally

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Dozens of people gathered at the Pentacrest to get the word out to save the University of Iowa Labor Center. The center educates people on topics like worker's compensation, workers rights and employment law. Mid-year budget cuts forced the University to cut the center and handful of others.

It was one of the seven programs closed in July as a result of the budget cuts. The Labor Center's director Jennifer Sherer told TV9 they're not going to stop fighting back.

"We've had the opportunity to have some really productive dialogue with decision makers," said Sherer. "We've been able to bring to the table a lot of ideas that I think are under consideration and we hope we get to continue that dialogue."

The center also had several rallies across the state this summer where they told different city leaders how much of a loss it would be if it closed permanently.

The University of Iowa sent the following statement:
"We are disappointed to be in this position and did not come to this decision easily. We believe in the work of the Labor Center and have tried to find a solution, including giving the center a year to find new sources of funding. Over the past 20 years, the state budget has grown by more than three billion dollars, but funding for the university has decreased by nine million dollars. Students once covered about 30 percent of the cost of their education, but the generational disinvestment in public higher education has forced students to now cover more than 60 percent of the cost of their education. These centers and employees provide valuable outreach and service to Iowans but we can no longer ask our students to cover the cost of non-student activities previously supported by the state just a generation ago."

The Labor Center is still open until the end of this fiscal year.