Indiana News

Indiana House Approves Controversial Right to Work Bill

Final approval in Senate all but certain


Union workers protest as House votes on right-to-work legislation. ( photo: Eric Berman)

The House has approved a right-to-work bill, making Indiana all but certain to become the 23rd right-to-work state.


After three weeks of Democratic walkouts and other attempts to slow down the bill, Democrats supplied one last bit of drama, arguing the constitution requires the doors of the House to be open during debate. While Speaker Brian Bosma was still discussing the request, two Democratic legislators went ahead and threw open the doors, letting the sound of chanting union protesters pour in.

As four state troopers stationed themselves in the doorway, protesters did their best to drown out Republicans with chants of "liar" and "no right to work."

The law would prohibit unions from collecting partial dues from nonmembers to cover the costs of collective bargaining and other services benefiting members and nonmembers alike.

Inside the chamber, Democrats argued one last time that the law is at best an unknown quantity, and more likely, in their view, will lower wages. Crown Point Representative Shelli VanDenburgh declared a Teamsters negotiator told her one company owner last month put a five-dollar-an-hour pay cut in his new contract proposal, based on the expectation that right-to-work will allow it.

Republicans predict the law will put Indiana in the running for economic development projects it can't get considered for now. Mount Vernon Representative Wendy McNamara (R) says her southwest Indiana district has several sites ripe for construction if companies will look at them. And she says all workers deserve the same option she had when she quit the teachers' union, after union leaders refused to help her challenge a school transfer. The state already has the equivalent of right-to-work for teachers.

The final vote was 54-44, with five Republicans voting no.

The Senate has already approved identical language, but must vote one last time on the actual bill. Because Republicans hold a walkout-proof majority, the House vote was opponents' best chance to block or defeat the bill.

» Indiana House Paralyzed Again (1-24-12)
» House Rejects Referendum for Right-to-Work, Setting Stage for Final Vote (1-23-12)
» Right-to-Work Debate Finally Begins (1-23-12)
» House Democrats Slated to Return Monday (1-23-12)
» Senate Opens Debate on Right-to-Work, Rejects Referendum Plan (1-20-12)
» Democrats Recraft RTW Referendum, Say They'll Return Monday (1-20-12)
» Judge Rules on Fines Against House Democrats (1-19-12)
» House Paralyzed for Third Straight Day (1-19-12)
» House Republicans Levy Fines on Absent Democrats (1-18-12)
» Bosma Threatens Fines As House Democrats Walk Out Again (1-17-12)
» Small Compromise on Right to Work (1-13-12)
» Union Workers March Through The Snow (1-12-12)
» Thaw in Relations in Indiana House (1-11-12)
» Daniels Makes Right-to-Work Pitch in State of the State Address (1-10-12)
» House Democrats Stage Another Boycott (1-10-12)
» Senior Groups Blast Right To Work (1-10-12)
» Contentious Commitee Hearing on Right to Work Bill (1-10-12)
» House Democrats' Walkout Ends (1-9-12)
» Democratic Leaders Hold Right-to-Work Hearing in Fort Wayne (1-8-12)
» House Democrats' Caucus Chair Quits Post Over Walkout (1-6-12)
» Senate Panel Approves Right-to-Work Bill (1-6-12)
» Democratic Representative Speaks on Right-to-Work (1-6-12)
» Why Is "Right-To-Work" So Controversial? (1-5-12)
» House Still Paralyzed As Democrats Continue Boycott (1-5-12)
» Another Session, Another Walkout (1-4-12)
» Daniels Outlines Final Legislative Agenda (12-16-11)
» Daniels Weighs Political Impact of Right-to-Work (12-12-11)
» Governor Not Weighing in Yet on Right to Work Bill (11-21-11)
» GOP Leaders Will Push Right-to-Work Bill (11-21-11)
» State Senator Speaks on Indiana Becoming a Right-to-Work State (11-15-11)
» Study Panel Recommends Right-to-Work Law (10-26-11)


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