Democrats in the Indiana state Senate were absent on Tuesday for a vote on anti-collective bargaining legislation that would force unions to represent non-union members without charging an agency fee, according to reports.
Union members filled the halls of the statehouse in Indianapolis to protest the bill, which would have passed had all senators showed up because the Legislature is controlled by an anti-union Republican majority. In order for the body to pass the bill, however, there must be enough senators present for a quorum.
Laborers International Union of North America’s Munster Local 41 also brought a couple of buses to the home of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma on Monday, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Republicans argue that they are pushing the bill so that workers who do want to join the union are not forced to become members. They also claim it would attract new business to Indiana. However, Democrats argue that the bill would lead to workers getting low wages and benefits.
“Right to work is nothing more than a race to the bottom for the middle class of Indiana,” Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson told the Indianapolis Star, “and that, my friends, is not a race I care to win.”
If passed, Indiana would be the 23rd state to enact a “right to work” law. The last state to pass such a law was Oklahoma in 2001.