Labor/Union Relations

This website provides information about University of Iowa policies that establish the employment practices for union-represented staff.

Iowa’s law covering collective bargaining for public employees changed in February 2017. Under the new law, unions negotiate wages for the employee groups they represent; other topics previously addressed during contract negotiations are covered by Regent and university policies.

University employee groups represented by unions include: 

Employee groups represented by unions
Employee group: Represented in collective bargaining over wages by:
Regent Merit System staff, including blue collar, technical, security, and clerical staff as listed at Merit Job Classifications AFSCME Council 61
Staff nurses and other allied health professionals as listed at SEIU Job Classifications SEIU Local 199
Graduate teaching and research assistants UE Local 896/COGS

This site provides specific information about each employee group. It also provides an overview of changes to collective bargaining law enacted in 2017, information on Weingarten Rights, frequently asked questions, and information about resources. University Human Resources will update this site as new information becomes available.

Last updated: June 21, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer

According to the new law, public employee unions must be recertified before each contract negotiation. As contract negotiations occur every two years, this means public employee unions must recertify every two years.

Recertification is a process by which the employees represented by a union vote on whether they wish to continue being represented by that union. To be represented by a union, the majority (or more than 50%) of employees in a bargaining unit must vote to remain represented by the union.

University employees will need to recertify their current unions between June 1 and November 30, 2018 for the next contract negotiations.

Answer

The new law prohibits the university from deducting dues from an employee’s payroll. Public employee unions will need to develop an alternate method of collecting dues from members.

Answer

According to the new law, the following topics cannot be negotiated with a union representing public employees: insurance, leaves of absence for political activities, supplemental pay, transfer procedures, evaluation procedures, procedures for staff reduction, and subcontracting public services. These are in addition to the restriction on negotiating retirement benefits.

This does not mean that employees represented by a public employee union will no longer receive insurance or be covered by policies providing supplemental pay, transfer and layoff procedures. Rather, these will be determined outside the collective bargaining process.

At the University of Iowa, many policies addressing the above topics are already in place for non-bargaining employees. Unless established by law or Board of Regents policy, the university regularly engages with faculty and staff shared governance leaders to create and or modify university policies.

Answer

Any topic that is not mandatory or prohibited is a permissive topic of bargaining. Leaves of absence and seniority are examples of permissive topics. Until the contracts effective July 1, 2017 are finalized, the university cannot comment on permissive topics of bargaining that may be addressed in negotiations.

Answer

The university and Board of Regents have existing policies in place that address many similar topics for non-bargaining employees. Examples would include those in the Regent Merit System Rules and University Operations Manual. In some cases, changes or additions to policy will be necessary to address issues previously covered in a collective bargaining agreement and unique to that bargaining unit.

Regent Merit System policies are coordinated across the three Iowa public universities and special schools. Representatives from each have already been identified to assist in reviewing the existing merit rules in light of the changes to collective bargaining.

University policies are typically developed through consultation with a variety of constituent groups, including shared governance (e.g. Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Graduate and Professional Student Government).

Answer

While the new laws do prohibit insurance as a topic of contract negotiation, the new law does not prohibit the university from offering competitive insurance options to employees.

Each of the three collective bargaining groups will see different changes in their insurance on different timelines:

  • COGS represented employees will continue to have the option of UI Grad Care health insurance as it exists in the current contract, and this insurance will continue to be available to graduate assistants until the end of 2018.
  • SEIU represented employees already participate in the University’s health and dental insurance programs and will continue to do so after their current contract expires on July 1, 2017.
  • AFSCME represented employees enrolled in health plans offered by the state of Iowa will continue to participate in those plans through December 31, 2017.  AFSCME represented employees with hire dates on or after July 1, 2017, are eligible for university benefits, including health and dental insurance programs. AFSCME represented employees hired before that date will move to these programs effective January 1, 2018.
Answer

The university and Board of Regents have existing policies articulating standards and procedures for discipline, termination and grievances. More information is available in the Regents System Merit Rules and University Operations Manual. 

Answer

According to the new law, public employee unions must be recertified before each contract negotiation. As contract negotiations occur every two years, this means public employee unions must recertify every two years.

Recertification is a process by which the employees represented by a union vote on whether they wish to continue being represented by that union. To be represented by a union, the majority (or more than 50%) of employees in a bargaining unit must vote to remain represented by the union.

University employees will need to recertify their current unions between June 1 and November 30, 2018 for the next contract negotiations.

Answer

The new law prohibits the university from deducting dues from an employee’s payroll. Public employee unions will need to develop an alternate method of collecting dues from members.

Answer

 According to the new law, the following topics cannot be negotiated with a union representing public employees: insurance, leaves of absence for political activities, supplemental pay, transfer procedures, evaluation procedures, procedures for staff reduction, and subcontracting public services. These are in addition to the restriction on negotiating retirement benefits.

This does not mean that employees represented by a public employee union will no longer receive insurance or be covered by policies providing supplemental pay, transfer and layoff procedures. Rather, these will be determined outside the collective bargaining process.

At the University of Iowa, many policies addressing the above topics are already in place for non-bargaining employees. Unless established by law or Board of Regents policy, the university regularly engages with faculty and staff shared governance leaders to create and or modify university policies.

Answer

Any topic that is not mandatory or prohibited is a permissive topic of bargaining. Leaves of absence and seniority are examples of permissive topics.

Answer

The university and Board of Regents have existing policies in place that address many similar topics for non-bargaining employees. Examples would include those in the Regent Merit System Rules and University Operations Manual. In some cases, changes or additions to policy will be necessary to address issues previously covered in a collective bargaining agreement and unique to that bargaining unit.

Regent Merit System policies are coordinated across the three Iowa public universities and special schools. Representatives from each have already been identified to assist in reviewing the existing merit rules in light of the changes to collective bargaining.

University policies are typically developed through consultation with a variety of constituent groups, including shared governance (e.g. Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Graduate and Professional Student Government).

Answer

While the new laws do prohibit insurance as a topic of contract negotiation, the new law does not prohibit the university from offering competitive insurance options to employees.

Each of the three collective bargaining groups will see different changes in their insurance on different timelines:

-COGS represented employees will continue to have the option of UI Grad Care health insurance as it exists in the current contract, and this insurance will continue to be available to graduate assistants until the end of 2018.

-SEIU represented employees already participate in the University’s health and dental insurance programs and will continue to do so after their current contract expires on July 1, 2017.

-AFSCME represented employees enrolled in health plans offered by the state of Iowa will continue to participate in those plans through December 31, 2017.  AFSCME represented employees with hire dates on or after July 1, 2017, are eligible for university benefits, including health and dental insurance programs. AFSCME represented employees hired before that date will move to these programs effective January 1, 2018.

Answer

The university and Board of Regents have existing policies articulating standards and procedures for discipline, termination and grievances. More information is available in the Regents System Merit Rules and University Operations Manual. 

Contact Information

Employee and Labor Relations

Fax
319-353-2384
Campus Address
121-20 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 20
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States