State Representative Hosts RTW Meeting in New Haven

By Rachel Martin

State Representative Hosts RTW Meeting in New Haven

January 15, 2012 Updated Jan 16, 2012 at 9:17 AM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- A lively town hall meeting was held in New Haven Sunday afternoon about amending the proposed Right To Work bill making its way through the State Legislature.

Approximately 100 people showed up to the town hall meeting at Rack & Helen’s in New Haven Sunday. 80th-district Democratic State Representative, Phil Giaquinta was there to educate and gain public input on the proposed Right To Work bill. Giaquinta says the Democrats having been doing everything they can to delay the bill process.

“We really wanted to give citizens across the state during these town hall meetings to find out exactly what’s in this bill. Indiana’s been doing business like this for over 50 years now, so this is a radical change,” Giaquinta said. “So I think it was up to us to decide to slow things down and get hearings, let people testify, pro or con, and that’s what we’ve been able to do.”

Giaquinta says the Democrats will propose an amendment to the current bill that will call for a referendum. A referendum is a vote on question that will be placed on the November ballot. The question is whether union dues should be voluntary or not. Giaquinta says he's optimistic Republicans will approve the amendment because referendums are becoming popular when it comes to making important decisions.

“In Indiana, I've noticed that over the past couple 2 or 3 years we've been moving toward the idea of referendums when it comes to school funding, taxes, and things like that; the elimination of township assessors and so on. So, it's really not a new idea, it's just something we think should be put to the voters,” Giaquinta said.

Giaquinta says the whole idea of “paying dues” is misunderstood.

“There’s a big misconception out there between a security agreement fee that a union member has to pay in order to receive services—this is a fee that’s been negotiated. Above the fees are what we call ‘dues’. A union member does not have to pay those dues,” Giaquinta said. “And so when we say, ‘you’re forced to pay dues’ that is incorrect.

“Within the bargaining agreement that’s been signed and voted upon, there is a security agreement. And that is what you’d pay for your representation,” Giaquinta said.

Giaquinta compared it to belonging to a neighborhood association—you pay something, and get services it return. “And that’s all this is,” Giaquinta said.

He says Democrats will propose the amendment Tuesday.

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