Court Ruling Divides Union Workers in Iowa Collective Bargaining Case

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know-your-rightsScrutiny of Iowa’s revamped collective bargaining laws were rejected in a recent hearing
where a Polk County judge upheld the laws’ constitutionality. The laws’ greatest protesters
included the 40,000 union members representing Iowan public workers, who initially tried to sue the state in 2015, citing a significant reduction in the number of benefits that workers can collectively bargain if the laws were upheld.

The issues raised amid the battle between state and public particularly highlight the problems of legal inclusivity, where laws are deemed either constitutional or not in legislation, even if that “fairness” works in favor of a particular bracket of people more than another.

Notably, the laws–whose appeal by the union workers was overturned over the weekend of October 29th, 2017–separate classes of public employees by removing collective bargaining elements for some, like university police and correctional officers, while maintaining them for others, like state troopers and first responders.

District Judge Arthur Gamble made the following comment in defense of his
controversial decision, stating in his original 23-page ruling from 2015 (found here) that “the relationship of the legislative classification to its public purpose is a matter of legislative line-drawing,” which “creates some degree of over-inclusion and under-inclusion.” Nonetheless, the decision faces major backlash from the under-benefiting union members, as well as more
officials in the Iowa legal system who foresee the future challenges this division may run up.

Overinclusive legislation becomes more objectionable when, such as here, valuable rights are implicated, which appear most often in new laws concerning public cooperation and purpose. The rationale of under-inclusion in the justice system, where decisions apply to some but not all of the conduct they proscribe, have historically stirred harsh feelings under the holey
umbrella of protection they represent, and the future of this particular battle may prove complicated for both the parties it explicitly concerns, as well as the precedent it supports in the continued use of arbitrary favor in protection policies.

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