A prayer service is scheduled for Tuesday morning, to be followed by a rally Tuesday afternoon. Both are sponsored by the group, "Stand Up For Hoosiers."
Union members and their supporters are upset with House Bill 1486, which would change state law so that private sector workers are no longer required to pay dues or belong to a union that bargains on their behalf. They call it a threat to the middle class. They claim the bill would drive down wages and attract lower-paying jobs from out of state. Supporters of the bill claim Indiana misses out on economic opportunities due to its Right to Work status.
"What I'm trying to do is bring jobs to Indiana. Becoming a right to work state would bring jobs to Indiana," said State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-District 39)
"I come to stand up for Hoosier workers. Each of them would lose $5,500 if you come and do what you came here to do," said Nancy Guyott with Indiana AFL-CIO.
The bill was passed out of committee on party lines and now waits for a hearing in the House.
Teachers are opposed to a number of other bills working their way through the Indiana General Assembly, concerning education reform. Teacher Nikki Roberts of the Greater Jasper School District told reporters she is "terrified what will happen to me and my colleagues if these bills are passed."
The Indiana Senate will consider Senate Bill 575 which would eliminate the bargaining of school hours and days by teachers associations. Senate Bill 001 would allow outside agencies to evaluate teachers. The proposed bills are two of at least four pieces of proposed legislation that would temper the power of labor unions in Indiana.
"If they succeed in silencing that voice, it's not just unions that will be affected but many middle class families will pay the price," said Lily Eskelsen, Vice President of the National Education Association.
The Senate is expected to pass the teachers collective bargaining bill Tuesday.