Wisconsin redux: Indiana edges closer to right-to-work

Indiana is on the verge of stripping union rights and becoming a right-to-work state. The Republican-controlled House passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban unions from collecting mandatory fees from workers. The bill follows similar measures in other states like Wisconsin, which have drawn mass protests. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to face some opposition.

The vote came after weeks of protest from Democrats in the statehouse involving walk outs and amendments designed to slow down or derail the bill. However, after several days of protest, the Democrats eventually conceded and allowed the vote to go forward. The vote in the Senate will happen sometime late next week after what is expected to be several more days of protest from the public and Democratic lawmakers alike.

Just under half of states are right-to-work states. After the 2010 elections brought in a swath of anti-union Governors, several states – most notably Wisconsin and Ohio passed measures to strip union rights. The measures resulted in significant public backlash including successful recall elections in Wisconsin and a new recall action against the Governor.

However, some Governors, specifically Rick Snyder of Michigan have said publically that they do not think pushing right-to-work is worth the fights seen in other states. Snyder has said that while he sides with those pushing legislation, he doesn’t think it makes sense to push at this juncture. Indiana, is home to some of the strongest union forces in the country and they are expected to use this time between votes to press hard on derailing the measure in the Senate.

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