Iowa collective bargaining law impacting transit grant funds

Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 9:19 PM CDT
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The Jule in Dubuque says they might not get a federal grant, and this issue could be a problem for all public transportation across the state.

Iowa's new collective bargaining law that went into effect in February might not meet federal standards for grant money. This is causing the US Department of Labor to take a second look at all applications for transit grants.

City Attorney Crenna Brumwell says Dubuque usually gets the grant money no problem, but this year is different because of the new law.

She said, "there was a determination after the Iowa law passed by the US Department of Labor, which determined that Iowa, the state, had some compliance issues."

In order for a city to receive grant money, the Labor Department needs assurance that Iowa is meeting federal collective bargaining standards.

That grant money would be used across the board for day to day operations for the Jule, like for fuel, advertising, wages and more.

This new law has the Labor Department taking a second look at Dubuque's operation support grant application.

Brumwell said, "we're waiting for their review to determine if there is any type of issue, but it relates to the rights of the transit workers related to collective bargaining."

Iowa Senator Pam Jochum voted against the collective bargaining law. She says people warned lawmakers before they voted on the bill.

She said, "there was an effort by many outside the capitol trying to communicate that there would be some consequences and you know there were some legislatures who just didn't listen to the public."

Brumwell says Dubuque has a five year collective bargaining agreement with the transit workers they approved before the new law went into effect.

So the city hopes this new agreement is similar to those in the past, and the Labor Department approves it quickly.