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Iowa UE Members Greet
Governor, Meet Lawmakers


Iowa political action conference ...
Vilsak with UE delegates; Hovis
Iowa Gov. Vilsack is presented with framed copies of UE leaflets backing his candidacy last fall, above. From left, Local 893 Vice Pres. Bill Austin, Local 893 Pres. Dan Kelley, Local 896 Legislative Chair Jason Duncan, Vilsack, Local 893 Sec. Pat Hasenclever and Genl. Pres. John Hovis. Below, Pres. Hovis chats with Local 893 member Dale Garlinghouse, who made a presentation both to Gov. Vilsack and the conference on why privatization of adoption services would be a bad idea.
Hovis and Garlinghouse

The unusually mild, sunny weather here on Feb. 9 matched the mood of union members gathering in the state capital for the annual UE Political Action Day. With the cloud of the labor-hostile Branstad administration lifted after 16 years, the representatives of more than 6,000 working families from each of the state’s 99 counties looked forward to positive changes.

Turnout was unusually high for a state-employee contract year, making this sixth political action day one of the biggest yet. Some half dozen locals sent close to 70 delegates, who met with more than 75 lawmakers.

A meeting with newly elected Gov. Tom Vilsack made for "a change of pace," commented Dan Kelley, president of UE Local 893-Iowa United Professionals. In years past the governor probably wouldn’t have come and UE locals certainly wouldn’t have invited him.

UE enjoyed a good relationship with Vilsack when the new governor served in the legislature, and UE members worked on his successful campaign last fall. He was endorsed by both Local 893 and 896, Campaign for Organizing Graduate Students; this campaign marked the entry of Local 896, COGS into state electoral politics. Labor support was crucial as Vilsack overcame a 20-point deficit in the polls to become Iowa’s first Democratic governor since 1966.

When the governor entered the Supreme Court chambers for his meeting with UE members, it was clear from their standing ovation they knew who he was. And by his remarks, it was equally obvious that Gov. Vilsack knew exactly who his audience was.

Gov. Vilsack affirmed his support for education and expressed doubts about privatization; he quoted a letter written by Local 893 Pres. Kelley with regard to privatization of adoption services and said he would contact the department head. He drew applause and cheers when he mentioned his plans to replace the commissioner for Human Services.

The Local 896 delegation had a first-time, introductory session with Johnson County legislators. Union members called for increased funding for higher education, child care and greater access to the University of Iowa board of regents.

Congratulating UE locals on for their role in the Vilsack election, Genl. Pres. John Hovis advised: "We need to keep the pressure on." Remind the governor that union members won’t be satisfied with an administration that offers little more than a "kinder, gentler" conservative policies. And, Hovis said, "Iowa workers aren’t looking for someone to ‘feel their pain’ — they’re looking for someone who will alleviate their pain and protect their jobs."

Political Action Dir. Chris Townsend led a workshop; District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen offered encouragement and expressed his appreciation for the political action carried out by the Iowa locals. Local 896, COGS Pres. Deborah Herman and Legislative Chair Jason Duncan talked about their local’s lobbying for increased higher-education funding and child care. Dale Garlinghouse made a presentation on the privatization of adoption services. Local 893 Vice Pres. Bill Austin explained the union’s call for an end to XPERT funding; this computer system was intended to simplify determination of public assistance benefits. UE members employed by the Department of Human Services have seen this program crash and burn, Austin said.

UE News - 02/99

Home -> UE News -> 1999 Archives -> Article

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