Business group attacks “union bosses”

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry has about 1400 members.  The group has collectively purchased radio ad time to attack "union bosses" who are backing labor-related bills percolating through the legislature.  You can listen to the ad here — the mp3 is at the bottom of the page.

Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield, is chairman of the Iowa ABI's board of directors. "Our members are very concerned about the direction and the multitude of bills being introduced that are going to have a very detrimental effect on business and across the issue, it's kind of a pent-up wish list of the other issues on labor unions and that that's going to be very damaging for businesses," Sukup said today during a statehouse news conference. "Right now, Governor Culver has already mentioned and concerned that we're in a severe recession, so it would seem to me the last thing you would want to do is make it harder on business to expand and take care of their employees here and penalize businesses here operating in the most valuable way and being able to create jobs on it and we need to get our message out to people and explain the dire circumstances.  Things can very quickly happen here at the capitol and then we have to live with them for years and years thereafter and people slowly wake up to the consequences of what's happened. And we're scared to death by what we're seeing, some of these propiosals and, fortunately, we're getting the attention of more people with it, but it's (an) uphill battle here but, as people learn about the consequences, we're very hopeful that we can do what's best for the state and do what everyone's looking for – to increase employment, get out of this recession as quickly as possible."

A reporter asked if Sukup felt as if businesses were "under attack" at the statehouse.

"Well, starting to get that feeling of everything, you know, the perfect storm type of thing when you're trying to work on the just your basic sales and employment levels and sales levels and then when it gets all kind of some of them bigger straws than the other on your back, at what point it breaks," Sukup said, "and we'd just ask the legislature to help us with doing the most basic economic development and that's growing business and, overall, I think Iowa businesses have set a great example in the way they've handled a lot of things and been responsible employers."

A reporter asked Sukup how big the ad buy is.

"I'm not sure at this time."

A reporter asked Sukup about the specifics in the ad.

"I think it'll cover the range of issues….there's unforutantely a very wide range of bad bills out there that we want to make sure there's full discussion on things and not what happened last year with some of the public rights bargaining that gets fully aired out and people understand the severe consequences that this may have and it's a lot of these are classic law of unintended consequences that at first glance it appears that they sound good, sound charitable and that, but the long term result of it often is just a boomerang in that it can cause people to drop health insurance, like in this case, or be the tipping point for saying, 'Hey, I've taken all I can here,'" Sukup said.

Sukup's name may sound familiar to some statehouse veterans.  Sukup's brother, Steve, was a Republican legislator who ran for governor in 1998 before dropping out and endorsing Bob Vander Plaats. Steve Sukup is vice president/chief financial officer of Sukup Manufacturing.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.