Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Indiana House Democrats Stall Democratic Process to Protect Unions

Back in November of 2011, Labor Pains told readers not to hold their breath for a 23rd right to work state. This is why.

Close to a year after Indiana House Senate Democrats fled the state to protest Republican plans to curtail union rights, the legislators have employed a similar tactic to stall new right to work legislation by once again refused to show up last week.

While Indiana House Republicans have the votes to pass the measure, the House does not have the quorum it needs to conduct business without the Democrats in attendance.  If the House Democrats return, the legislature’s Republicans are expected to pass the measure without difficulty, holding a 60-40 majority in the House and a supermajority of 37-13 in the Senate.

In its last session, the Indiana legislature passed an anti-bolting statute, allowing daily fines of $1,000 to be assessed on members who are absent for three or more consecutive days without an excuse. Although these have yet to be imposed, the fines can be levied at the discretion of Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma.

One indication of the anti-bolting statute’s effectiveness is the recently scheduled vote on amendments to the bill, in which House Democrats are expected to attend this week.

Under the right to work legislation that Republicans are working to pass, employees at unionized private companies would not be required to pay dues to the union. If the bill passes, Indiana would become the first right to work state in what’s considered to be the nation’s traditional manufacturing belt.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, along with other supporters, argues that the bill would attract more jobs to Indiana–a state hit with 9 percent unemployment.

Given the likelihood that the bill will clear the House and Senate, Indiana workers may be able to breathe a little easier.

Categories: Center for Union Facts