Janus v AFSCME: Assault On Working Families


Today, June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court declared there is, in fact, a free lunch. The Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public sector workers that benefit from collective bargaining of the union in their workplace, have zero obligation to contribute to the costs associated with obtaining the very wages, benefits, and job protections they enjoy.  The Court overturned standing law that allowed unions to collect a share of dues from non-members to pay  for the costs incurred to obtain better wages and benefits the non-members would otherwise enjoy for free . The assault on those willing to give their time, money, and effort to bargain for a better workplace continues. This is nothing less than a full effort to break unions and silence the collective voice of workers.

This “fair share” portion was limited to a fair amount to cover costs associated with collective bargaining activities, not political action. The “free speech” argument was a red herring. No one has been compelled to financially support the political position of their workplace union.

Don’t kid yourself, this ruling is an assault on ALL working people and their families. Overtime, pensions, holidays, workplace safety, job security: you can wave goodbye to all of these things because, just like health insurance, they will be stripped from you in a slow steady pace. Collective bargaining, through labor unions, assures workers a unified voice and a fair bargaining process.

If you think your vote doesn’t matter, think again. I need your support.

Kent Balduchi


This Tuesday, June 5th you will have the opportunity to take the first step to put our legislature back on course. The past two years in particular we have seen spiteful and short-sighted policies enacted by representatives that are long on talking points but short on the kind of experience needed to fully understand the negative impact their misguided policies have in the long term.

I am asking for your vote for the nomination as the Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 30 in Tuesday’s primary and again in the general election in November.

I bring to the table a broad base of experience, the kind of experience to understand the needs our government must address and the real-life experience to make effective change.

For over twenty-two years, serving as a firefighter/paramedic with the Des Moines Fire Department,  I saw first hand the impact of poverty, crime, and illness suffered by ordinary people. Members of the DMFD assisted individuals in their greatest times of need. My knowledge of these issues comes first hand, not simply related through statistics or the stories of others. I’ve personally seen families struggle to survive the ravages untreated mental illness takes on the entire family. I have seen the impact of children struggling in poverty. I know these issues first hand, not in the abstract.

My most recent twenty-two years have been spent in the practice of law. I practice surrounded by working families in the same blue-collar neighborhood in which I grew up. In my practice assisting these hard-working families, I have seen when our system works well and when it fails miserably. I know the connection between dropping out of school and the increased likelihood of winding up behind bars. I have seen our jails and prisons become warehouses for the untreated mentally ill. And I know it does not have to be that way.

An education in Public Administration and the law have given me the tools and skills to address the problems associated with inadequate education or the lack of marketable skills to earn a living wage. My experience assisting individuals and families with legal needs has given me insight into the need for stronger support for the state institutions designed to give our citizens the kind of support they need to stand on their own as contributing members of our community.

Understanding the laws proposed and passed by our legislature, along with many of their unintended consequences, is essential to correcting their failures. Having the skills and experience to craft and negotiate solutions between individuals or groups with competing interests is a necessity to achieving meaningful and effective solutions.

Knowledge. Understanding. Evaluation. Negotiating. 


My name is Kent Balduchi and I’m asking for your vote on June 5th.



Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Carpenters, Electricians, Elevator Constructors, Glaziers, Insulators, Ironworkers, Laborers, Millwrights, Operating Engineers, Painters, Plasterer & Cement Masons, Plumbers and Steamfitters, Roofers & Waterproofers, and Sheet Metal Workers.

What do the men and women that belong to the trade unions listed above have in common? They build things that last. They bring the skills and training that guarantee a quality product to everything they do. And their association, the Central Iowa Building & Construction Trades Council has endorsed Kent Balduchi in the race for the Iowa House of Representatives, District 30.

What better way to keep our momentum building than to have the confidence of people that bring expertise and quality to the workplace every day? Our campaign is grateful to receive the endorsement of the Central Iowa Building & Construction Trades Council.

We’re determined to build a new and better system that serves working Iowans and their families; a system that views labor as a partner and valuable asset; and a system that respects the right of workers to organize and be heard.

Thank you for your endorsement and your support!

Iowa Federation of Labor Endorsement

This week I learned that I have received the endorsement of the Iowa Federation of Labor-AFL/CIO. Thank you to the membership and leadership of the Iowa Federation for this vote of confidence.

Now, more than ever, the interests of Iowa’s working families need a voice. We have watched a legislature dominated by representatives hostile those that labor for a living. We have watched as these same legislators squandered precious time in the session over proposed laws to silence the voices of Iowa workers. The final insult has been to devise a budget/tax scheme in secrecy, only to reveal the contents of this poorly devised scheme days before the session is to end. It is a budget that puts the interests of working families at the bottom of the list.

I am honored to receive the endorsement of the men and women that value hard work and that value the good of their communities over personal gain. I pledge to fight for these values. I pledge to put our communities and their citizens ahead of the special interests that would choke effective government out of existence.

Police Officers For Good Government Endorse Balduchi

I am honored.

This week I received the call that the Police Officers for Good Government have endorsed my campaign for the Iowa House of Representatives seat in District 30. I had the privilege of working side by side with the men and women of the Des Moines Police Department for over twenty years during my time as a firefighter-paramedic with the Des Moines Fire Department. During that time, I personally witnessed the compassion, integrity, and professionalism of these dedicated law enforcement officers. At fires, motor vehicle collisions, and crime scenes I could always depend on the officers of the DMPD to keep the members of my crew safe or to lend that extra set of hands when a life was in jeopardy.

As a practicing attorney during the past twenty years, I have frequently found myself on the opposite side of the table from these same men and women. Even though our goals for some cases were different, one thing remained the same: the officers of the Des Moines Police Department consistently conduct themselves with the same integrity and professionalism I came to expect when we worked together on the street. Their goal is to defend the safety and well being of the citizens they have sworn to protect. They have my admiration and respect.

It takes a special skill set to respond to unknown situations that can turn life threatening in an instant. I know the high standards we’ve come to expect of our police officers are not possible without providing the support and resources to hire, train, and retain the type of exceptional individual that makes an effective law enforcement officer. This requires a commitment from our elected officials at all levels.

I am running for State Representative because I believe our current legislature has lost sight of its primary responsibility to provide for the essential services necessary for the safety, health and welfare of the citizens of Iowa. I am honored to have the endorsement and trust of the Police Officers for Good Government. Please join me in my campaign to return our legislature back to the control of elected officials that put the well-being of Iowans first.

Police Officers for Good Government.

Des Moines Police Burial Association.

            Des Moines Police Officers Bargaining Unit Association.

Kent endorsed by AFSCME!

I am pleased to announce receiving the endorsement of AFSCME Council 61 for my candidacy for the Iowa House of Representatives, district 30. I am honored to receive this vote of confidence from the dedicated members of AFSCME that serve the people of our state.
Last year at this time we were still dealing with the shock waves of the Republican led legislature’s evisceration of the public employees’ collective bargaining rights (Iowa Code Chapter 20). All workers deserve the right to negotiate the terms of employment, including wages, benefits, hours of work, and work safety. Public employees work jobs that are unique to governmental s

ervice, jobs that are difficult, if not impossible, to compare to the private sector. Many of these jobs involve hazardous situations where resources and staffing can make the difference between going home whole at the end of a shift or going home at all.

Government’s primary function is to provide essential services. Our expectations on the employees that provide these services is high. Our level of support must match our expectations. That support means more than a pat on the  back with one hand and a slap in the face with the other.

Thank you, again, to the members of Council 61 for your trust and support.

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Citizens

The Des Moines Register reported on the failure of the long term care Omsbudsman’s office to actively advocate on behalf of the state’s elderly and disabled.

Among the shortcomings listed was the lack of onsite investigations into nursing home complaints. This failure violates Federal law. The Republican controlled legislature and Governor’s office stripped the Omsbudsman’s office of the funds necessary to conduct these onsite investigations. When confronted with the violation of Federal requirements aimed at protecting our most vulnerable people, the Governor’s spokeswoman replied “The Governor expects all State agencies to follow the law”.

How is that possible when you choose to give state funds and tax breaks to large corporations? How will it ever happen as long as the Governor and Republican legislators continue to sink their hands deep into the pockets of the nursing home industry?

It’s time to end the hypocrisy and the collusion. If you give a damn about our senior citizens, vote for change in November. Once again, I am asking for your support in the upcoming primary and general elections for Iowa House District 30.

Solutions not battles

Every time I step into the courtroom I’m faced by an opposing attorney or party. We are there because we disagree on the resolution of an issue and we are seeking the Court’s decision.

The other attorney is my adversary, not my enemy. We argue the law and the facts. We argue for the interests of our clients and the interest of our community. We strive for an outcome that is just. We have adverse interests. We disagree as to what is the just decision. We are adversaries, not enemies.

It’s time that our elected officials from the municipal level to the federal level remember this: Stop treating those across the table or across the aisle like your enemy. Stifle the urge to punish and get even. Stifle the urge to simply win. Seek justice. Seek equity.

I’m running for the seat in Iowa House District 30 with that very attitude. Iowans deserve elected representatives that will seek solutions to problems that present adverse interests.  I want to hear your concerns and your ideas. I welcome your help in any form. Every effort is appreciated.

Please support me in my effort to find solutions in government for hard working Iowa families.

United Mine Workers founded January 25, 1890

Lest our legislators forget, Iowa has a strong and lengthy history of labor activity. The working families of Iowa will not forget how you turned your back on the very people that power Iowa’s economic engine.

I have pleaded (labor’s) case, not in the quavering tones of a feeble mendicant asking alms, but in the thundering voice of the captain of a mighty host, demanding rights to which free men are entitled.”

John L. Lewis of Lucas, Iowa, a founding father of the United Mine Workers.

Happy New Year

This time of year always causes me to reflect on the past as I look to the coming year. One thing that has struck me is the wealth of support and encouragement that I get from family, friends, and colleagues. I’ve also been struck by the tone over the past year of individuals or groups proclaiming to be independently successful and dismissive of those who do not possess, or outwardly show, the badges of success.

I do not believe for a second that any one person is a totally self made success. Each of us relies on the collective efforts of our society to fully realize the most benefit of our own innate talents and hard work. The innovators, business captains, and other successful individuals we see daily would not be there but for a teacher, clerk, mentor, employee, or some other person that provided a hand or service that furthered the efforts of the individual.

I have had successes (and failures) and I have enjoyed the rewards of those successes. I could credit my own hard work and determination as the sole source of my success. Likewise, I could blame others (taking no personal responsibility) for my failures or shortcomings. Both would be wrong.

This past year I have seen far too much of this approach. It has manifested itself in animosity towards immigrants, the poor, public institutions and their employees. We have seen calls to slash funding for public institutions that keep us safe, educate our children, or minister to our infirm. It has manifested itself under labels of tax reform and various “crack downs” on perceived systemic failures. It has been a concerted effort by those that have benefited the most to shift the financial burden to others under the claim that they achieved financial success all on their own and are somehow being deprived of their fair share.

To be sure, we must manage our public resources and institutions wisely. But we must also recognize and appreciate the part each of us play in the success or failure of our society. I stand upon the shoulders of those that have gone before me: the soldiers that risked or sacrificed their lives, the union members that fought for better wages and labor conditions, the working men and women that paid their taxes that I might be safe, secure, and well educated. God strike me if I refuse to give a hand up to those striving to improve, refuse to willingly contribute my share to provide essential services for all, or claim I owe no duty to our community at large.

This coming year, pledge to be the mentor to someone striving to improve their lot; be the volunteer that assists a family or individual in need; or be the person that seeks to understand those adverse to your personal interests so that you might find common ground. Be the person that understands our success or our failure as a society makes our individual successes and failures inseparable.

Make next year better for yourself and those around you.

Happy new year!