Indianapolis—Union leaders expect thousands of Hoosiers to go to the Statehouse Monday in protest of a proposed right-to-work bill.
House Bill 1468 would strip unions in most state industries of their right to bargain wages, benefits and work rules. Only the construction trades would be exempt.
"The employers that don't want to come to a non-right-to-work state aren't worried about wages," said Carmel Republican Representative Jerry Torr, the bill's sponsor. "They're worried about work rules that interfere with management getting the job done and being efficient in their business and making a profit. It has little to do with wages."
"This is a coordinated national effort to ruin the middle class," said Allison Luthe of Central Indiana Jobs with Justice. "I think our situation might be worse than Wisconsin. That was an attack on public employees because of budget issues. We have an attack on public employees, teachers, minimum wage and unions which will have an effect on all us whether you're in a union or not."
This weekend, thousands of protestors laid siege to the Wisconsin Statehouse in Madison to demonstrate against Governor Scott Walker's plans to cut bargaining rights of public employees.
"There are employers outside the state who would move their businesses here if we were a right-to-work state," said Torr. "At least a third -- maybe as many as half -- of employers looking to expand write off non-right-to-work states."
If right-to-work legislation passes "we will have to work harder for less money, fewer benefits and pay more money out of our pocket all across the board," said Luthe.
The bill is expected to pass out of committee and make its way to the House floor. Legislation is also pending to reduce the bargaining ability of teachers' unions.
Governor Daniels has said he would prefer lawmakers spend their efforts writing a new two-year budget and not debating right-to-work legislation.