Pro-Worker Lawmakers, NFL Players Fight Controversial Indiana Right-to-Work Bill

by Patricia Guadalupe  |  January 06, 2012


Democratic legislators in the Indiana House of Representatives fighting a bill that would make Indiana the first state in years to enact right-to-work legislation stayed behind closed doors a third day today to slow its consideration.

They got some weighty backing from the NFL Players Association, which condemned the bill, calling it a political ploy.

"NFL players know what it means to fight for workers' rights, better pensions and health and safety in the workplace," the union said in a statement. Indianapolis hosts Super Bowl XLVI next month. "This Super Bowl should be about celebrating the best of what Indianapolis has to offer, not about legislation that hurts the people of Indiana.”

The bill is a top priority of Governor Mitch Daniels. Republican lawmakers did not rule out fining legislators who remain absent.

Last year, House Democrats held the line on similar legislation for five weeks, staying in an Illinois hotel to try to block the legislation. A new law passed by the conservative majority after that showdown levies a fine of $1,000 per day against any lawmaker who sits out more than three days in a row. Democrats say they aren’t planning to leave the state this time around, but they’re not backing down even if it means a hit to the wallet.

“I’m a single mother, I have a son in college, I’m moving in with my mother, but I’m on the right side of history,” Rep. Vanessa Summers told The Associated Press.

Democrats say they may hold their own hearings on the legislation in several cities across the state as early as this weekend, adding that Republicans are trying to force it on Indianans without their input.

Earlier this week, Daniels backed down from implementing a controversial rule which limited the number of people allowed into the Statehouse and that critics said was aimed at restricting access during hearings for the controversial bill.

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