Hundreds Gather To Protest Right-To-Work Legislation

Right-to-work legislation would bar unions from charging dues to non-members who work in union shops.

Statehouse

Photo: Noah Wesley (Flickr)

People filled the hallways of the Senate chamber to testify about right to work issues.

Hundreds of people, most of them union members, filled up the state Senate chamber Thursday. Crowding in doorways, hallways and aisles, they waited for a chance to testify before a legislative committee on the right-to-work issue.

Right-to-work legislation would prevent unions from charging dues to non-members who work in union shops. The legislature first explored the issue in February, which led, in part, to the five-week walkout by House Democrats. The opinions on either side have not changed much since then.

Cliff Kerce is a member of the carpenters union who came to the Statehouse from Leavenworth.

“Today I am here because it was brought to my attention what some politicians were trying to do to me and my family,” he says. “This so-called right-to-work law is a threat to my family’s standard of living.”

Mark Sweeney represents a South Carolina-based site selection firm, which helps companies choose where to locate or relocate their operations. Sweeney says as many as 50 percent of companies his firm deals with will not even look at a state unless it is right-to-work.

“It would be my expectation that Indiana will get more consideration from more of our clients if it is a right-to-work state,” he says.

Sweeney says that does not guarantee more companies will locate to Indiana, but that the state will not get shut out in the beginning of the process. The legislative committee will prepare a recommendation for the General Assembly before the session begins in January.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • http://www.rightdemocrat.blogspot.com rightdemocrat

    Right-to-work laws lower wages and benefits creating a race to the bottom for American workers. Unionization results in better paying jobs and working conditions. Jobs are leaving the USA because of free trade and corporate greed. We need strong unions to protect workers and serve as a voice for middle class Americans.

  • Bm_pc

    Yada, Yada, Yada! If union Representation is such a fantastic situation then the workers should be flocking to be in Union shops and bring Unions into every workplace out there. Why is it that a measly 10% of Indiana’s workforce is Union? This 10% doesn’t have the support of the citizens of Indiana. Shouting, intimidation and veiled threats are all that is in your playbook.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7VWA525FCVQJSTSFSMEOU7XLHU Merlin

    If Indiana rank and file union members are so interested in this protest, why are the majority of them from out of state?  For instance, why are 152 teamsters from the Chicago locals signed out to attend the protest?  Why is the AFL-CIO bussing in protestors from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as some UAW members from the Louisville area.  There’s the real story for reporters.  When are you going to get to work?

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