Iowa Unions laws & HR compliance analysis

Iowa Unions: What you need to know

The right of workers in private employment to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and related federal laws. The NLRA is “preemptive,” meaning that it overrides state law in any area it covers. However, in areas not covered by the NLRA, such as the organizing rights of public employees and the rights of private employees working for employers not engaged in interstate commerce, the states are free to make their own provisions. There is a more detailed discussion of interstate commerce.
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Iowa has adopted its own laws relating to union membership and boycotts and strikes to supplement the federal guarantees. The state provisions do not apply to employees subject to the federal Railroad Labor Act (IA Code Sec. 731.1, 732.1).
The federal NLRA allows states to protect a worker's right not to join a union. States that do this by law are called “right-to-work” states; they prohibit compulsory union membership. Iowa is such a state, and its law also prohibits compulsory restraint of membership in a union.
Iowa law prohibits contracts that discourage or encourage membership in any labor organization by discrimination in hiring, tenure, or other terms or conditions of employment (IA Code Sec. 731.2). It is also illegal for an employer to enter into a contract with a labor union to exclude from employment members of a union or refuse to hire persons who will not join or have withdrawn from a union (IA Code Sec. 731.3). Furthermore, no union or employer or other party may require a person to pay dues, charges, fees, contributions, fines, or assessments to a labor union (IA Code Sec. 731.4). An employer may deduct such ...

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