Legislature and Unions and State Government and Government & Economic Development and Government and Labor

Indiana House schedules initial right-to-work vote

January 11, 2012

Indiana's House of Representatives has scheduled its first vote on divisive right-to-work legislation that has prompted stall tactics by Democrats through the first week of the 2012 legislative session.

House Democratic spokesman John Schorg said Wednesday that lawmakers will vote on amendments to the bill Tuesday. The measure would have to clear one more House vote before advancing to the Senate, where it likely has a clear path to approval. Senate Republicans outnumber Democrats 37-13.

The measure, if eventually approved, would make Indiana the 23rd state to ban businesses from requiring workers to join or pay fees to unions. Most House Democrats boycotted the chamber four out of the first five days of the 2012 session to slow work on the bill.

The scheduling of Tuesday's vote came after Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma sent a letter Wednesday to Democratic House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer saying that fines of $1,000 per day were "most likely unavoidable" if Democrats continued stalling.

"Rumors of a 'rolling walkout' appear to have been substantiated with your absence yesterday, and important legislation (beyond the right-to-work bill) is hanging in the balance," Bosma wrote.

Meanwhile six NFL players with Indiana roots wrote to Indiana House members urging them to vote against the right-to-work bill. Quarterbacks Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears and Rex Grossman of the Washington Redskins and four others called the measure a "political ploy" against workers.

Days earlier, the NFL Players Association came out against the measure that would ban private contracts that require workers to pay union fees for representation.

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