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Iowa workers vote to recertify union – despite enormous challenges

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By Ezra Kane-Salafia ·

Since an anti-worker collective bargaining rule change in 2017, Iowa public service workers have had to vote to recertify their union every October before their contracts expire. Last month, workers overwhelmingly voted to do just that – for the fourth year in a row.

The final tally was 14,565 votes to recertify, 99 against. The vote was an overwhelming statement of solidarity from workers in the middle of the fight against raging COVID-19 outbreaks across Iowa and the continuing cleanup from August’s devastating derecho storms, the most expensive and destructive thunderstorm cluster in modern American history.

Sixty four of the 67 AFSCME Council 61 units voted to recertify. Bargaining units across the state – from county sheriff departments to ambulance departments, from roads departments to libraries – all stood together.

“Against considerable employer interference [public employees] voted to recertify [their] union,” said Council 61 President Danny Homan, who’s also an AFSCME vice president. “All while fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iowa.”

The need for solidarity has never been clearer in Iowa, where the task of fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been left to hardworking public employees and front-line workers.

“Iowa public employees provide the vital services that the citizens of this state need, while fighting the legislature for our very existence,” Homan said. “We are still here, we are still fighting and we will continue to fight until justice is returned to public employees.”

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