How many Iowa candidates "won" under rules Republicans forced on unions?

Sixth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

Republican lawmakers and Governor Terry Branstad set out to cripple public sector unions in 2017 by enacting a law that eviscerated bargaining rights and established new barriers to union representation. Under that law, public employees must vote to recertify their union in each contract period (in most cases, every two or three years). Anyone not participating in the election is considered to have voted against the union. So a successful recertification requires yes votes from a majority of all employees in the bargaining unit.

The law hasn’t accomplished its goal of destroying large unions that typically support Democratic candidates. The vast majority of bargaining units have voted to recertify in each of the past four years. This fall, all 64 locals affiliated with the Iowa State Education Association voted to keep having that union negotiate their contracts. AFSCME Council 61, which represents most Iowa state and local government workers, was nearly as successful, with 64 out of 67 units voting to recertify.

I decided to return to a question Bleeding Heartland first pondered in 2017: how many candidates for other Iowa offices could declare victory under the system Republicans forced on labor unions?

I found that even after Iowa’s highest-turnout election in decades, our state would have no representation in Congress if contenders needed a majority vote among all constituents. “Winners” could be declared in about a third of state legislative races.

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When Iowa farmers took to the streets--and got results

Dan Piller: The “Farmers Holiday” movement was the Black Lives Matter of the Corn Belt during the early 1930s. Mass protests, including blocking traffic, changed government policy.-promoted by Laura Belin

The churches, coffee shops, and co-operatives of northwest Iowa that gave us Steve King and a huge majority for Donald Trump in 2016 are no doubt generating massive disapproval of the Black Lives Matter protests, adding their voices to the call for “law and order” in the distant cities.

It might come as a surprise to many of these folks, who probably nodded through their Iowa history courses, that they enjoy their status as entitled owners of some of the richest farm land in the world primarily due to the government rescue of agriculture in 1933. That policy was a response to civil disorders that on several occasions prompted the governors of Iowa and Nebraska to call out their National Guards.

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It’s time for the education and medical communities to unite

Bruce Lear proposes several ways Iowa’s doctors and teachers could cooperate to advocate for safe conditions in schools. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s been a summer ride. First, there was a tingle of unease. Then there were questions, and more questions, left unanswered. Later, the Iowa Department of Education issued a vague, incomplete statement. Finally, the governor issued a proclamation filled with hype instead of hope. It was the summer of angst for parents and for educators.

Now, it’s time to stop defining the problem and start trying to solve it.

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Senator Joni Ernst's stealth attack on our Social Security

Midge Slater, president emeritus of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, authored this post. -promoted by Laura Belin

Senator Joni Ernst wants the people of Iowa to vote for her, but she doesn’t want to say where she stands on Social Security. That is because she won’t admit that she wants to reach into all of our pockets and cut our earned benefits.

More than 1.7 million Iowa workers contribute to Social Security with every paycheck. In exchange, they receive monthly cash benefits if and when wages are lost as the result of old age, disability, or death. Every month, Social Security pays earned benefits to more than 475,000 retired Iowans and to more than 77,500 Iowans with such serious and permanent disabilities that they no longer can work. Social Security pays monthly benefits to 333,275 women and more than 37,370 children in our state. Millions more will receive those benefits in the future — unless Ernst has her way.

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Iowa Republicans fail to uphold promises of Older Americans Act

Mike McCarthy is president of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law on July 14, 1965. It responded to the need for community services, evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention programs, civic engagement, and elder justice for senior citizens. America’s seniors require a similar response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans believes that seniors must have relevant and accurate information about preventing and treating the coronavirus. Seniors and retirees are becoming more desperate looking for security and a cure. We should be able to trust President Donald Trump’s pronouncements. However, he repeatedly shows us that we cannot believe his statements.

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