Unions Out in Force, Dems Nowhere to be Found

By Scott Sarvay
By Max Resnik

February 23, 2011 Updated Feb 23, 2011 at 7:47 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Its day two, and all but three Indiana House Democrats remain out of state, staging a protest against controversial bills in the legislature.

The Democrats say they will not return unless they get assurances from the Governor and Speaker of the House that the bills will not be brought up again this session.

The walk-out brought the House to a standstill on Tuesday and again on Wednesday, since there aren't enough lawmakers to conduct business.

The House is under Republican control, so the missing Democrats are using the walkout to stifle the controversial GOP backed Right to Work bill and Education Reform measures.

But Speaker Brian Bosma seems unlikely to budge on the measures.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma says, “I've not received any message from the Democrats that they have any terms or conditions. They probably understand that I'm not in the business of negotiating with people who aren't doing their job."

Even though the Democrats are absent, the Statehouse continues to be packed with workers protesting the Right to Work bill.

It would ban unions from requiring memberships and dues as a condition of employment.

Governor Daniels hopes the House standoff can be resolved, and says he will not send the State Police to Urbana, Illinois to retrieve the missing Democrats.

Governor Daniels says, “I'm not sending the state police after anybody. I'm not going to divert a single trooper from their job of protecting the Indiana public. I trust that people's consciences will bring them back to work."

If the House does not pass its bills by the end of Friday, measures like that Right to Work bill, will die.

The State Senate has enough Republicans to do business without Democrats present.

Thousands of union workers from various unions including teachers, brick layers, engineers, auto workers and steel workers to name a few, flooded the hallways, wings and stairs that makeup the State House.

Bound by collective chanting, singing, cheering and booing, the raucous group of protestors let their voice be known. They vowed to prevent the General Assembly from making changes to education, collective bargaining and the future of the unions.

Orval Plumlee, President of the United Auto Workers Local 2209 said today, “Unions are born in some of the worst of times during the Great Depression, and I think unions are going to be re-born in these very drastic and rough times.”

This sentiment was the theme today at the State House where laborers from various unions referred to themselves and brothers and sisters. They were excited by the announcement that the very contentious Right To Work Bill had been defeated. The bill could be re-visited next year however. The General Assembly plans to study the bill over the next year.

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