Union workers, legislators demand university reconsider closing Labor Center

Dozens of Iowans came together to support the Labor Center and demand the university reverse it's decision.

Some Iowans are voicing their disappointment with the University of Iowa's decision to slash the campus labor center because of budget cuts.

Dozens of Iowans came together to support the Labor Center and demand the university reverse it's decision.

They said it has not only helped the Iowa workforce prosper, but has saved lives too.

"If you want to pick a fight, you're coming to the right place.. We're not going to let this happen without a fight," said Jesse Case, Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters local 238.

Union leaders, community members and legislators said they are fighting to preserve the labor centers legacy on Iowa workers.

"If we close the labor center, we tear down bridges, we increase workplace discrimination, and it's not acceptable," said Case.

"It's gotta be saved," said Jeff Kurtz with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

Kurtz said this institution, which offers non-credit courses for union leaders and workers has shaped work in the railroad industry.

"Those classes have taught us hazard identification safety, versus behavior based safety. It's saved the lives of our workers," said Kurtz.

For faculty and students, the center is also a resource for research an internship opportunities, which they and local leaders are not ready to let go.

"We urge you to rescind your decision and continue the support of the labor center as the university of Iowa has done for nearly 70 years," said Kurt Friese, with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

University leaders tell CBS2 news they understand public disappointment comes with the decision to relocate money from the labor center to the College of Law, but they said its necessary.

"1,000th of 1 percent of the university's budget...that's what they're cutting? Well, that's less money than the president of the university makes in a single year," said Case.

Iowans said there should be another way to save money and not impact workers.

"You need a process of gathering input , of consultation," said UI history professor Lisa Heinemann.

Spokespeople with the Labor Center said more than a dozen legislators spoke with the provost today expressing their concerns and said they are hopeful the university reconsiders de-funding the Labor Center.

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