More than 600 steelworkers packed the marble halls of the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday asking legislators to vote down several so-called right-to-work proposals.
“We realize it’s a Republican-controlled House and Senate, but we’re hoping enough Republicans see the light and stop this,” said Jim Furan, of LaPorte, a heater at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant.
At least five different proposals pending in legislative committees would take away some collective bargaining rights from union workers or prohibit non-union employees from having to contribute a fair share toward union-represented services.
“Eventually, you won’t have a union to fight for your benefit packages,” said Calvin Caldwell, of Valparaiso, a mechanic at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant.
Pete Trinidad, of Portage, vice president of United Steel Workers Local 6787, said that’s exactly what Republicans want.
“They are just freewheeling attacking labor, which was a big problem for them in the last election,” Trinidad said.
But labor clearly is not giving up without a fight.
Trinidad said Tuesday was steel’s biggest lobbying day at the Statehouse in years, and steelworkers wearing blue USW ballcaps were easily spotted throughout the rotunda, hallways and galleries of the Statehouse.
Read the rest of this entry »