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Iowa workers, families, and fairness
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · February 16th, 2017

We have real issues in our economy: Iowans are working more for less; many have seen their health care and other benefits slashed; and there's an ever-widening gap between those at the top and the middle class. We must find ways to lift up all Iowans with fair wages, benefits and a better quality of life.

Marion Police officers and fire fighters risk their lives for us every day. Nurses care for our loved ones when they're sick or hurting. Linn-Mar and Marion School District teachers and coaches educate and train our future leaders. Correctional officers in our prisons help ensure our safety. Linn County snowplow drivers work all night during a blizzard to keep our streets clear so that we can wake up and go about our lives in the morning. These people are your public employees.

At the Capitol this week Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are pushing legislation that will drive down wages for all those who work for you, cut their health care and decrease their quality of life. The bills are Senate File 213 and House Study Bill 84.

Almost 43 years ago, the Iowa Public Employment Relations Act (often called "Chapter 20" or Iowa's collective bargaining law) was approved with bipartisan support by a Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Bob Ray. The law lays out the rules by which public workers and public employers-schools, cities, counties, the state- discuss issues, solve problems and reach mutually agreeable decisions in the workplace instead of strike. Originally passed to stop strikes, it has served Iowans, workers and public employers.

As always, let me know your thoughts at and be sure to attend my listening post on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the League of Women Voters Forum, Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids.

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