Hundreds stream into statehouse

It may be one of the largest gathering of people inside the statehouse in recent memory. 

The line of people waiting to get into the statehouse stretched out and down a steep sidewalk early this evening, moments before a rally was scheduled to start inside.  Unions organized the gathering, a prequel of sorts to the public hearing scheduled to begin at six o’clock.  The subject matter of that hearing: a labor bill pending in the Iowa House which would forbid negotiations of contracts for public sector workers to discuss the topics of health care coverage and layoffs.  That means unions would no longer be able to bargain over the health care benefits for public workers in Iowa — if the bill becomes law.  That’s highly unlikely, as Democrats in the Senate have no interest in taking it up.  

“All of you in this room are going to stand up for what’s right,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said to the crowd during this evening’s rally. “…Seventy, 80, 90 years ago — people did fight to the death to guarantee people’s rights to organize and have a voice in the workplace. People did die for that right and we are not going to let a bunch of House Republicans take away what our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought for.”

Gronstal lambasted the “Republican machine in the House” which he accused of trying to “dismantle” Iowa’s labor laws.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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