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Iowa GOP doesn’t support fairness for workers

Republicans haven’t shown up to support striking workers for one simple reason: They don’t support them

Prepared remarks by Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls at today’s news conference:

“This morning, Senator Joe Bolkcom announced that he will not seek reelection to the Senate while calling for Iowans to step up and run for the statehouse. Senator Bolkcom is a close friend, a dear colleague, and a relentless champion for a better Iowa. “Since he was first elected to public office nearly thirty years ago, Joe has provided outstanding service to his community and to our beloved state.

“I know that choosing to bring his decades-long career in public service to an end was not easy, but I appreciate his decision and am grateful that he is encouraging a new generation of Iowans to get involved in state government. His experience, his hard work, and his commitment to the people of Iowa will be missed, and I wish him all my best. 

“Changing gears, I’d like to speak to this week’s news about the ongoing UAW strike. First and foremost: Hard work deserves fair pay.

“That’s why Democrats are fighting every day for all hard-working Iowans. That’s why our members have shown up to support striking UAW workers across the state.

“We support the decision of the workers to negotiate for a better contract, and we will continue to advocate on their behalf as they fight for fair pay and benefits.

“Now, where are the Republicans?

“Republicans haven’t shown up to support striking workers for one simple reason: they don’t support them. Republicans have abandoned John Deere workers and all Iowans who are fighting for better jobs and better compensation.

“The ongoing negotiations between UAW workers and John Deere executives are another sign that Iowa Republicans have stacked the deck against workers.

“Corporations like Deere are raking in record profits by keeping wages low and passing off higher prices to farmers and consumers. Farmers are frustrated by John Deere’s strategy and business practices.  Working families are frustrated by what John Deere is doing.

“Workers across Iowa are frustrated by Iowa Republicans. We’re frustrated about:

  • Stagnant wage growth and high prices while big corporations like John Deere make record-high profits;
  • Lack of respect for essential workers;
  • No progress on providing affordable, high-quality child care for children in working families;
  • No progress on providing paid family and medical leave for working families.

“Iowans deserve better from their employers and from Republican politicians. Republicans have complete control of state government. Hard working Iowans are getting screwed by a one-two punch of low wages and higher prices. Republicans have let this happen on their watch; they’ve let prices spiral out of control while doing nothing to bolster paychecks.

“Rather than offer any solutions to the problems I’ve just laid out, they’ve stoked one manufactured culture war fear after another – hoping folks won’t notice that Republicans have no solutions. Instead, Republicans, led by Senator Jack Whitver, are planning yet another tax cut for the wealthiest and most powerful people in Iowa.

“That’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Senate Democrats believe we need an economy that works for hard-working Iowans, not the top 1%. Democrats will continue to fight and show up for workers and retirees who have earned a bigger paycheck and secure retirement.”