Sunday, September 19th, 2021

House passes Right-to-Work

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012

Article provided by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce

It wasn’t a smooth ride – by a long shot, but on Wednesday, January 25 the House version of the right-to-work bill (HB 1001) passed 55-42. As the bill was taken up for debate, Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) and Rep. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) demanded the doors to the House chamber remain open so union protestors could be heard. So amid those loud chants, bill author Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) kicked off the proceedings.

Torr restated that the measure represents choice for workers on whether to join a union, job creation and making the state’s business climate more attractive for companies looking to expand or relocate. He also said right-to-work is necessary and “just common sense” for worker freedom and jobs. House Minority Leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) then took to the microphone to reiterate his caucus’ contention that the joint Senate-House hearing on Friday, January 6 was really a Senate hearing and not focused on HB 1001; therefore the legislative process was “violated.”

One by one, many House Democrats – some of whom were former union members or have relatives who are union members – went on record with their opposition to right-to-work. Sprinkled among them were Republicans who (primarily) were in favor of making Indiana the 23rd right-to-work state. Representative Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand) used her time at the microphone to recount her experience working in right-to-work states and how those employees and states benefitted. “The sky will not fall the day after right-to-work passes. It will not,” she said. “Right-to-work is a balance between workers’ rights and collective bargaining rights.”

Next step: While both the House and Senate right-to-work bills are essentially the same, one of them must be passed by the other chamber for it to go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Given the difficulty of getting the House together for a quorum the first time around, the task will fall to the Senate to pass the House right-to-work bill. The Senate can begin that process as early as tomorrow. That means your senator needs to continue to hear from you about why right-to-work needs to happen, right now. You can easily make that important connection through