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Union criticizes layoffs due to federal shutdown

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa union officials say the federal government shutdown has forced layoffs that impact worker safety in the state.

Iowa Federation of Labor President Ken Sagar says in a news release Wednesday that there will soon be just three Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors working in Iowa. That's because another 14 inspectors are being temporarily laid off due to the shutdown.

The inspectors are among the 69 employees at Iowa Workforce Development who are being temporarily laid off.

Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce says the safety inspectors' duties have been severely limited by the federal government for the duration of the shutdown. All they can currently do is inspections related to fatalities. She says the department will be able to handle those cases with the remaining workers.