(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A battle over making Indiana a “right to work” state is brewing again at the statehouse.
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) both said Monday that they will make “right to work” their top legislative priority in 2012.
It’s a hot-button issue. In order to block a “right to work” bill earlier this year, Indiana House minority Democrats staged a five week long walkout, fleeing to Illinois to prevent a quorum needed to hold a vote on the bill.
“Right to work” laws ban companies and unions from requiring non-union members to pay fees to the union for representation.
Bosman and Long said identical bills will be introduced in the House and Senate when lawmakers convene in January.
“Today marks the beginning of the freedom campaign for Hoosier workers. While we are the envy of the Midwest in our job creation efforts, economic development experts tell us that removing the last barriers to job creation in our state will help the quarter of a million unemployed Hoosiers get back to work. That is why my top priority this session is to make Indiana the 23rd Right to Work state in the nation,” Bosma said
Rep. Pat Bauer (D-South Bend), the House Minority Leader, has hinted that a walkout may loom again.
“If they choose to continue these radical attacks on working Hoosier families, Indiana House Democrats will reserve the right to respond appropriately,” Bauer said in October.
Bauer insists right to work laws do not bring additional jobs to states, but rather lower wages – hence critics calling such laws “right to work for less.”
Even before the 2012 legislative session begins, opponents will be visible and vocal. The United Steelworkers Union said they will have nine buses of union members at the statehouse Tuesday when lawmakers meet for Organization Day, according to the Time of Northwest Indiana.