Currently there are approximately 15 Democrats that have either announced their candidacies for President or have started exploratory committees to run for President. I have had the privilege of talking with most of them. Even though most candidates have different views on such issues as job creation, climate change, healthcare and other matters they all agree on one issue – we have Iowa nice!
But I have told each and every one of them – you should have been here two years ago last month. They should have been here two years ago when we decided that 183,000 public sector employees were more of a danger to state of Iowa than domestic terrorism.
They should have been here two years ago when far right political zealotry seemed to have taken roost right here in the good state of Iowa and 183,000 public sector employees felt the brunt of their fury.
For instead of thanking 183,000 public sector employees for keeping Iowa safe; for protecting our most vulnerable citizens; for teaching our children not only the ABC’s but also right and wrong; for helping to make sure that justice and compassion and caring are not just words but the way we do business here in the state of Iowa. Instead of thanking them for helping to keep the State of Iowa a place we are proud to call home we as a Legislative body disrespected 183,000 public sector employees as workers and as people.
And trust me, when I say we as a Legislative body I mean the Republican majorities of the House and Senate.
The Republican majority took away the basic civil right for 183,000 public sector employees to have a voice in their job. To make a difference in their job. To be protected in their job.
The Republican majority did their best to take away the right for 183,000 public sector employees to make a living. To be able to support their family and have time to be there for them. To form and maintain a union.
In just three days House and Senate Republicans tore down what had worked so well for over 40 years – the right have a say and to be respected on your job.
Approximately two months after this disaster of a bill was passed, there were suddenly new rules established – rules that actually lowered the wages of about 1,200 people across Iowa. Nurses, administrators, janitors and others who were being paid on an hourly basis were now told that they were salaried employees, not allowing over time. These employees’ salaries were lowered to the tune of about 12 million dollars.
I talked with one of the registered nurses that were affected by this rule change. In 2018 she:
* took zero sick days
* took zero unscheduled absentees
* was never late to work
* worked New Year’s Day, MLK Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas
* never received any holiday pay
* worked 269 over time hours
* was not paid one-dime in overtime and not given one-hour in comp time.
This is what she told me: “The 2017 gutting of collective bargaining did tip the scale. It tipped the scale and gave the employer 100% control over its employees. Iowa public employees no longer have a voice regarding safety in the work place. We no longer have an avenue to voice our concerns. We no longer have dignity on the job.
Iowa public employees now are at the mercy of their employers and are working every single day under the shadow of the phrase ‘If you don’t like it leave it’. This is not right! Our public employees are suffering. They are losing hope and they are losing heart.”
To the public nurses of this state; to the teachers of this state; to the state patrolmen, the corrections officers, the janitors and to the rest of the 183,000 public sector workers who have been stripped of their civil rights to have a voice on their jobs this I promise you – we as Democrats will not stop fighting until this extreme and mean-spirited agenda is defeated and reversed. To my 183,000 brothers and sisters in the public sector, this I promise. You will, once again, have a voice on your job. You will, once again be able to make a difference in your job. To be protected in your job. To have dignity on your job.
To make sure that Iowa is once again a welcoming place for all working men and women.
We will not forget.