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Season 3, Episode 192

Townsend: Iowa’s anti-worker legislation exacerbates worker shortages



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Tom Townsend

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The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 704 Business Manager Tom Townsend joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed how anti-worker legislation in Iowa has exacerbated worker shortages in the building trades.

With a jurisdiction near several state borders, Local 704 represents 300 workers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, a So-Called “Right to Work” state. 

Iowa has a legislature that is not friendly to unions and has passed numerous laws that negatively impact working families, Townsend said.He mentioned three examples: 

  • In 2017, lawmakers passed a bill that stripped the collective bargaining rights of public employees. 
  • Unemployment benefits have been cut from 26 weeks down to 14 weeks. 
  • Workers' compensation benefits have been cut by 80 percent. 

Local 704 members can make $28 more an hour in Illinois, and enjoy better unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits than they would receive in Iowa, Townsend said. It has become harder to fill jobs in Iowa without the benefit of a competitive wage, he added.

Townsend also discussed solar projects in Local 704’s jurisdiction.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Auto Workers, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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