Right to Work legislation making headway in the General Assembly

Jan 20, 2012

An amendment by House Democrats to place Right to Work on a statewide referendum has been redrafted and filed, but Democrats remained off the floor Friday.

An initial referendum amendment was thought by legislative attorneys to be unconstitutional.  Democrats then vacated the floor all this week to redraft it.

Friday morning Minority Leader Pat Bauer said he wanted assurances from the Republicans that they believe the new amendment passes constitutional muster.  But Speaker Brian Bosma will only promise to hear, debate and vote on the amendment.

“It’s not our job here to determine the constitutionality of something before we vote on it.”

Bauer says his caucus didn’t think that was enough and opted to remain off the floor one more day.

“We will be here Monday for this bill.  But we’ll be here when we think people have full knowledge that it’s constitutional.”

Still, Bauer says if Republicans claim the new amendment is unconstitutional, Democrats may have to rethink their commitment.

The Indiana Senate debated amendments to that chamber's Right to Work legislation. An effort by Democrats to include a statewide referendum failed with nearly all Republicans voting against it. State Senator Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) was the only member of her party to side with Democrats in supporting the referendum idea.

Supporters say Right to Work will lure more businesses to the state, and allow workers to choose whether they pay union dues. Opponents argue Right to Work states have lower wages, and they say a federal requirement that labor organizations represent all workers in grievance matters with an employer is unfair without financial support.