Iowa Supreme Court upholds law ending rights for some unions

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 12:37 PM CDT
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The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a state law passed in 2017 by a Republican-run legislature that removed bargaining rights for many state employees.

In cases filed by the Iowa State Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court ruled 4-3 on Friday that the law withstands constitutional challenges.

Both decisions were written by Justice Thomas Waterman, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad who supported the new law. Waterman found the law rational and that it should remain in effect.

Waterman was joined by another Branstad appointee and two justices recently named to the court by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

They concluded the Legislature was rational in giving certain public safety employees the right to bargain over many more issues than those in unions in which fewer than one-third of members are public safety workers.

The unions challenged the law, saying it violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

The three dissenters say portions of the law are not rationally explainable.

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