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Feb
2011
17

HOOSIER HUNTIN’: Indiana Introduces 10 Anti-Worker Bills, Right-to-Work May Be Losing Steam



With all eyes on Wisconsin, the Indiana legislature is pushing a vehemently anti-worker agenda by way of 10 (yes, ten!) new bills. The bills, many of which aim to accomplish the same thing with slight differences in language, range from revocation of collective bargaining rights for public employees, to the banning of Project Labor Agreements and the removal of prevailing wage laws. A complete list of the anti-worker measures is below.

Nuvo.net calls the bills “politically charged” and suggests that Right-to-Work legislation “aims to gut labor unions.”

On Tuesday, more than 600 steelworkers packed the Indiana Statehouse asking legislators to vote down several so-called right-to-work proposals. Bloomberg also reported Tuesday’s gathering.

An article posted early this morning suggests that Right-to-Work may be losing steam in the House and Senate. Still, a school voucher bill appears to be getting the broadest media coverage.

On Wednesday, members of the Senate labor and pensions committee walked out of a hearing after they were blindsided by a last-minute amendment to a public employee pensions bill. State Sen. Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute) described these bills as a “worst-case scenario for working men and women in the state of Indiana.”

Action alerts have been issued by the Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Department, as well as the State AFL-CIO.

Lobby days are scheduled for the Capitol next week. Labor representatives are asking people to demonstrate at the Indiana State House Monday through Thursday:

Monday, February 21, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

Phone numbers and email petitions have been supplied:

CALL THE SENATE: 1-800-382-9467
CALL THE HOUSE: 1-800-382-9842
EMAIL THEM BOTH: Stand Up for Indiana’s Working Families

The 10 bills in question are explained below…

Senate Bill 333: Seeks to eliminate the use of all Projects Labor Agreements on publicly funded construction projects.

Senate Bill 273: Like HB1585, this bill seeks to permanently ban collective bargaining for state employees and criminalize the encouragement and participation in strikes by public employees.

Senate Bill 575: Limits collective bargaining rights of Indiana’s teachers to the point of dismantling them. If passed, only wages and certain fringe benefits may be bargained. This bill eliminates bargaining of hours and days, opening the door to extremely long hours and a longer work week with no additional compensation.

Senate Bill 001: Allows for outside agencies to be used to evaluate teachers and for teachers to evaluate other teachers. Teachers will not have input into the evaluation tool. The State Board of Education will have to approve the tool chosen by a school corporation, limiting local control. There is no appeal process under this bill if a teacher is fired unjustly. The Superintendent of Public Instruction may revoke a teacher’s license at will.

House Bill 1585: Seeks to permanently ban collective bargaining for state employees, criminalize the encouragement and participation in strikes by public employees and takes away the pensions of those who do. The bill also prohibits even voluntary collection of dues by local and state governments as well as school employers and disproportionately hurts the ability of women and minorities to bargain for better wages and working conditions. It passed out of committee and now moves to the House floor for a vote.

House Bill 1216: Prohibits project labor agreements and renders Indiana’s common construction requirements useless. Specifically the legislation exempts from common construction wage requirements projects under $1 million and all school and university projects. Currently only projects under $150,000 are exempt from this law. Passing this bill would lower the wages of Indiana’s construction workers and open the door to out-of-state workers.

House Bill 1203: An unnecessary bill designed to interfere with worker’s ability to designate a union to represent them, if passed the National Labor Relations Board has already pledged to sue the state because the measure is unconstitutional.

House Bill 1538: Bars local units of government from setting a minimum wage higher than a state minimum wage, restricting an important way to put upward pressure on wages.

House Bill 1002: Allows for charters to be established by mayors of 2nd class cities or a majority vote of a school board. The bill allows for acquisition of under-utilized buildings for $1 per year for up to 20 years. The school corporation must maintain the building. Charters have first option at any under-utilized building, meaning the corporation cannot choose to sell it if a charter wants the building. It also requires that only 50 percent of the teachers in a charters need to be licensed.

House Bill 1003: Creates vouchers to allow public money to be diverted to private schools. If passed public schools are estimated to lose $110 million.

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