Arbitrator Preserves Free Health Care For Iowa Union Workers - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Arbitrator Preserves Free Health Care For Iowa Union Workers

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Workers in Iowa's largest public sector union won't have to pay a contribution to their health insurance under a new two-year contract issued by an arbitrator.

The award for the 20,000 members of Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was announced Thursday. The contract includes no raises, except for step increases for workers who haven't reached top pay scale.

Union President Danny Homan says the union and Gov. Terry Branstad agreed on wages during negotiations, but the process went to arbitration because the two sides couldn't resolve health care.

Branstad called for union members to start paying a portion of health care costs, while the union sought to maintain current benefits.

In a statement, Branstad says he's disappointed by the health care decision.

"I am disappointed that Iowa will continue to be one of only six states where the overwhelming majority of state employees will continue to pay nothing toward their health insurance," Branstad said.