More than 1,000 members from every corner of Local 150's jurisdiction traveled to Indianapolis on Wednesday, February 1 to demonstrate in opposition to the "right to work" law, which was ultimately passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor Daniels.
The deceptively named legislation forces unions to provide equal services to workers who do not choose to be members and who choose not to pay dues. Proponents of the law claim that it enables workers to make their own decision, yet these claims are diminished by the fact that federal law allows a worker not to join a union as well as pay a representation fee in lieu of full dues if they opt out of membership. The law goes into effect immediately.
Local 150 members have maintained a presence at the capitol throughout the month of January as the contentious bill moved forward in the face of massive protest. When the bill was passed in the Senate, members took to the streets.
"Enough is enough," said President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney. "If this is what career politicians do to us, we have to run our own people for office." Several Local 150 members are registered as candidates for the House of Representatives in the upcoming primary election.
Members marched through Indianapolis with signs, banners, and megaphones voicing their displeasure with the lawmakers in Indiana. Tourists in town for the Super Bowl applauded and offered support as the crowd wound though Downtown Indianapolis.
"The only people that this bill will put to work right now is attorneys, because we are not waiting for someone else to challenge this. We will file our lawsuit immediately," Sweeney said. The lawsuit will challenge the constitutionality of a law that mandates services while prohibiting fees for those services.