House Republicans are pushing ahead with a proposal that seeks to put Iowa’s “Right to Work” law in the state’s constitution, knowing the Democratically-led Iowa Senate won’t take up the measure. A House subcommittee held a hearing on the proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday. Charlie Wishman of the Iowa Federation of Labor told Republicans the amendment is unneeded and divisive. “Why are we doing this right now, re-fighting battles that have been fought in other states that have tore them apart if you’ve been watching the news?” Wishman asked.
The “Right to Work” law guarantees no Iowa worker is required to join a union, or pay union dues. Nicole Crain of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry told lawmakers if Iowa ever gets rid of its Right to Work Law, companies won’t do business here. “The nation’s leading relocation firm reported that 50 percent of all companies looking to relocate or expand automatically eliminate non-Right to Work states,” Crain said. “That’s automatically over 50 percent.”
The meeting was testy at times. Representative Greg Foristall, of Macedonia, chided the crowd after Marcia Nichols of the AFSCME union spoke. “I guess I have to question what you’re threatened about,” Nichols said to conclude her remarks, and people in the crowd clapped. Foristall interjected: “No, it’s two to 100 here or whatever, so no penetrations will be allowed because I don’t want to let this get out of hand.” Later, Foristall told the union members they don’t understand economics and the shouting started. “I warned you about demonstrations,” Foristall said. “The meeting’s over.”
Foristall is chairman of the House Labor Committee, and the full committee is the next stop for the proposal.