Indiana's Union-Busting 'Right-to-Work' Bill Becomes Law, Thousands Take to Streets in Protest
The Indiana Senate voted 28-22 Wednesday to pass the so-called 'right-to-work' bill that forces unions to represent workers who do not pay dues. The bill is widely seen as an attack on the ability of private sector unions to organize and to carry out political activity. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed the bill into law shortly after.
Advocates for labor rights stress that unions negotiate for better working conditions for everybody, not just union members, and that barring these payments is a blow to labor organizing. Indiana is the first state in the manufacturing belt to pass such a bill, though it is the twenty-third 'right-to-work' state in the country. The bill created such controversy in Indiana that Democrats in Senate repeatedly walked out over what they described as Republicans' unwillingness to hear debate.
Thousands of Hoosiers protested the legislation today, packing the Statehouse and lining up outside. According to the Indy Star:
Union protestors marched from the Statehouse lawn into the Super Bowl Village about 12:30 p.m., shortly after the vote. Some protestors marched along Capitol Avenue toward Lucas Oil Stadium — passing beneath the popular zipline attraction that’s part of the city’s festivities before Sunday’s Super Bowl — while others marched onto Georgia Street, where concerts and displays greeted visitors for the game.
Protestors were chanting “United we stand, divided we fall” as they were shown on local television news during the noon hour.
Despite the mass of reporters in town for the Super Bowl, there has been little coverage of the protest in the mainstream media. Sunday's game is likely to be the target of even more protest.
Here's a photo of what the protests looked like today: