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The 4,500 members of SEIU Local 199 work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and child care centers across Iowa. Our healthcare members care for patients in a variety of settings — from one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers in Iowa City to community-based nursing homes in small towns like Strawberry Point. We also care for and educate children in Head Start. Our members work as registered nurses, nurse’s aides, teachers, laboratory scientists, patient access representatives, food service workers, and in dozens of other professions.

Here’s where we work:


Our local’s roots go all the way back to the 1930s, when custodians at the Cedar Rapids Schools joined in the wave of organizing that helped build America’s — and Iowa’s — middle class.

In 1974, Iowa’s legislature passed the Public Employment Relations Act, which set solid ground rules for public service workers seeking to organize and build their unions. In the 1970s and ’80s, a host of new SEIU locals were formed — from school workers in Dubuque (SEIU Local 282) to hospital employees in Creston (Local 725).

In the 1990s, SEIU membership in Iowa continued to grow, and many existing SEIU locals and a number of independent associations merged into SEIU Local 150 based in Milwaukee.

Then in 1998, roughly 3,000 nurses and healthcare professionals from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics united to win a powerful voice for patients at the state’s largest hospital. This surge in SEIU membership led to the creation in 1999 of our own Iowa local — SEIU Local 199.

We’ve continued to grow in the 21st century, with the registered nurses of Finley Hospital in Dubuque uniting with us in 2003. More public school members also joined our union. But after the passage of an extreme anti-union state law in 2017, it became clear that our public school members could fight back more effectively if they were united with their co-workers in the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA).

We worked together with Iowa’s educators to make that happen, and all of our K-12 members have now voted to join with the ISEA.

Contact Us

Phone: 319-341-0112; Fax: 319-341-0118

Press Inquiries: Contact Katie Biechler (Wilson) | 515-450-6619 |

Mailing address: 220 Lafayette Street, #128, Iowa City, IA 52240

Leadership and Staff