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Panel OKs Iowa collective bargain bill despite opposition

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Pay check

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans on a legislative committee have approved a bill that would make big changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining law for public employees.

The Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee approved the bill Thursday, Feb. 9, after hearing strong opposition from Democratic lawmakers, all of whom voted against the measure.

Iowa’s current collective bargaining law allows public sector employees like teachers, nurses and correctional officers to negotiate job benefits, including health insurance, extra pay and seniority. The proposed legislation would specifically prohibit those discussions.

Republicans say the bill, which includes exemptions for some public safety workers, will give employers greater flexibility to reward top employees. Unions argue it will hurt Iowa’s workforce and is meant to weaken unions.

The bill is expected to be debated on the Senate and House floors next week.