Iowa recently passed a law that significantly curtails the powers of its public sector unions. Specifically, the law drastically limits the subjects over which those unions can bargain, primarily to wages. Further, before entering into any collective bargaining negotiation, each local public union must hold and prevail in a “recertification election.” A majority of the covered employees must vote to assent to continued union representation.

The law became effective in February, but the first unions undergoing recertification elections began this month. The elections slated for this month will involve approximately 15 local unions that cover more than 1,000 members. According to Bloomberg BNA, “Eventually all 1,203 public sector bargaining units in Iowa will face recertification elections. Roughly 120,000 employees will be affected.”

The law is modeled after similar legislation passed in Wisconsin several years ago. It will be interesting to see the ultimate impact on public unionization rates in those states as more data becomes available. Stay tuned.