Thirty-seven of Indiana’s forty House Democrats fled the state yesterday, blocking the vote on a bill that would prohibit state workers’ right to collective bargaining. The Democrats vowed in their joint statement to remain in Urbana, IL until Republican Governor Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) agree that the labor and education bills that died on the House floor as a result of the members’ absence will not be brought up again.
Yesterday, tens of thousands of protestors marched to the state capitols in Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH to oppose proposed Republican bills that challenge public workers’ collective bargaining rights. The Ohio bill would also eliminate bans on hiring alternate workers during a strike and would reduce cut public workers’ benefits.
The protests in Indiana and Ohio followed in the wake of mass demonstrations on the affront on public workers’ rights in Wisconsin. Last week, fourteen Democratic Wisconsin Senators secretly fled from the state, blocking the vote on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill in a strategy to make the Governor negotiate with them. Due to the senators’ absence, the state Senate lacked the 60 percent attendance rate required for the vote to occur. Moreover, On Saturday, 68,000 state and local public workers and supporters rallied in Madison, WI to protest Governor Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union bill that proposes to reduce state workers’ salaries and take away the right of unions to collectively bargain for salary benefits, hours, and working conditions.