Right now: 1,000 workers sit in and block Indiana state Senate


INDIANAPOLIS - A thousand union members and their allies are sitting in and blocking the entrances to the state Senate chamber here. The demonstrators, singing, playing music and chanting slogans, say they are fighting two anti-union measures that Republicans are seeking to pass in the state legislature.

Democrats, taking their lead from their counterparts in Wisconsin, are boycotting the senate proceedings, denying Republicans a quorum required to vote on the "right to work for less" proposals.

The bill Republicans had hoped to ram through today would prevent Indiana companies from entering union contracts that require workers to either join a union or pay dues to a union.
Another bill, HB 1585, would ban collective bargaining for state employees and would ban future governors from restoring it.

Chris Sanders, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers for southern Indiana and Kentucky, is among those sitting in, playing his guitar. He said the Republican proposals would "take down the living standard of Indiana workers by over $5,000."

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, thousands of union members and their allies continue their occupation of the state Capitol into its seventh day. The Steelworkers, led into the building last night by Leo Gerard, the union's president, woke up this morning among hundreds who spent the night on the marble floors.

While they slept in there were reports that the Southern Central Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO chapter that covers Madison, has voted to "make preparations" for a general strike and wants its Education Committee to discuss the issue of such a strike with the membership. The measure is seen as a way to increase pressure on the Wisconsin business community to get the governor to back off his attacks on unions. Many businesses are already indicating that they would support a compromise.

Photo: Melissa O'Rourke

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  • Perhaps Republican big business reactionaries have gone too far. Maybe we are seeing the beginning of a militant worker-led upsurge that will restore the strength and success of American unions in the 1930's and 40's. Workers need this, the country needs this. Justice demands it. -Rob Moir

    Posted by Rob Moir, 02/24/2011 11:53am (5 years ago)

  • stay strong

    Posted by Joe White, 02/22/2011 5:39pm (5 years ago)


    Posted by Joshua Morris, 02/22/2011 4:25pm (5 years ago)

  • Alright people. It's time to get up and mobilize. They need our help.

    Posted by Solidarity Speaks, 02/22/2011 4:23pm (5 years ago)

  • From Missouri,where workers are also resisting and struggling against assalt-as president Obama correctly calls it,we believe that conflagrations in Wisconsin Ohio (not to mention New Jersey,Indiana,and Michigan)and here would be aided by real executive action on the part of our president and administration.
    During this African American history month,we have an opportunity to make Black history.
    Why not execute to force the national guard to stand down on public workers and supporting Democratic legislators in Wisconsin?
    Why not,Mr. President,declare a state of national economic emergency,underlining similar conditions in Missouri,Wisconsin,Ohio and all the states of the U.S. ,and to halt this almost unprecedented attack on the union movement and citizen rights?
    Why not put forth the idea that this economic crisis is inseparable from the environmental crisis and that the president of the United States and his administration, support unionists and the citizenry for protecting the environment and jobs,with green technologies,in order to stem this crisis,on a massive scale?
    What would Gandhi and MLK do?

    Posted by peaceapplause, 02/22/2011 4:07pm (5 years ago)

  • I don't get why the senators in Indiana fled. Don't the Democrats hold a majority there?????

    Posted by Dick, 02/22/2011 3:01pm (5 years ago)

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