Teachers union files second lawsuit over Iowa collective bargaining law

DES MOINES — Iowa’s new law that eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public workers creates an unconstitutional system for educators, the state’s largest teachers union said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The announcement by the Iowa State Education Association marks the second suit filed by a union against the law, which took effect in February. It was filed in Polk County District Court.

“The law, which was rushed through the Legislature and passed with no input from those it targets, treats educators and their chosen representatives unequally and unfairly,” said Tammy Wawro, president of ISEA, during a press conference at the Capitol.

The association, which represents 34,000 school employees in the state, claims three provisions in the law violate the Iowa Constitution. It includes creating two classes of public sector employees because some public safety workers, like law enforcement officers, were exempt from some reductions in collective bargaining rights. The law allows some public safety workers to still bargain over certain working conditions, while employees like teachers, nurses and correctional officers can only bargain over base wages.

The law also unfairly targets unions for collecting dues through payroll deductions, according to the lawsuit. The law removes that option for unions but allows employers to continue such dues collections for other organizations, including professional or trade associations.

The Davenport Education Association is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The state of Iowa and members of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board are listed as defendants.