Thursday, February 17, 2011

"the worst week ever for workers at the Indiana Statehouse."

Indiana Steelworkers:
More Action Needed NOW!   

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this has been the worst week ever for workers at the Indiana Statehouse.”

- Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott

Multiple bills designed to destroy our way of life and take away our rights have been introduced this past week in our state legislature.

Last week we asked you to write letters to Speaker of the House Brian Bosma telling him NOT to hold a hearing on right to work legislation.  Over 5,000 letters have been written to date.  Keep those letters coming!

On Tuesday, 600 Steelworkers converged in Indianapolis to fight back against this anti-worker legislation.  We need to do it again!

We Need More Action Now!

Indiana Steelworkers are being asked to come to the Statehouse next week to show our legislators that they can’t legislate us away.

We need members to come to the Statehouse on the following days:

Monday, February 21, 2011 beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Please contact Brett Voorhies with the day you and/or your
local members will be coming at or 317-435-3333.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE -- The following are the anti-worker bills introduced this week.
Note: These are all IN ADDITION to previously introduced Right to Work legislation!

House Bill 1585: Seeks to permanently ban collective bargaining for state employees, criminalize the encouragement and participation in strikes by public employees and takes away the pensions of those who do.  The bill also prohibits even voluntary collection of dues by local and state governments as well as school employers and disproportionately hurts the ability of women and minorities to bargain for better wages and working conditions. It passed out of committee, and now moves to the House floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 273: Like House Bill 1585, this bill seeks to permanently ban collective bargaining for state employees and criminalize the encouragement and participation in strikes by public employees.

House Bill 1203: An unnecessary bill designed to interfere with workers’ ability to designate a union to represent them.  If passed, the National Labor Relations Board has already pledged to sue the state.

House Bill 1538: Bars local units of government from setting a minimum wage higher than a state minimum wage, restricting an important way to put upward pressure on wages.

House Bill 1216: Prohibits project labor agreements and renders Indiana’s common construction requirements useless. Specifically, the legislation exempts from common construction wage requirements projects under $1 million and all school and university projects. Currently only projects under $150,000 are exempt from this law. Passing this bill would lower the wages of Indiana’s construction workers and open the door to out-of-state workers.

Senate Bill 333: Seeks to eliminate the use of all Projects Labor Agreements on publicly funded construction projects.

Senate Bill 575: Limits collective bargaining rights of Indiana’s teachers to the point of dismantling them.  If passed, only wages and certain fringe benefits may be bargained. This bill eliminates bargaining of hours and days, opening the door to extremely long hours and a longer work week with no additional compensation.

Senate Bill 001: Allows for outside agencies to be used to evaluate teachers and for teachers to evaluate other teachers. Teachers will not have input into the evaluation tool.  The State Board of Education will have to approve the tool chosen by a school corporation, limiting local control.  There is no appeal process under this bill if a teacher is fired unjustly.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction may revoke a teacher’s license at will.

House Bill 1002: Allows for charter schools to be established by mayors of 2nd class cities or a majority vote of a school board. The bill allows for acquisition of under-utilized buildings for $1 per year for up to 20 years.  The school corporation must maintain the building.  Charters have first option at any under-utilized building, meaning the corporation cannot choose to sell it if a charter wants the building. It also requires that only 50 percent of the teachers in charter schools need to be licensed.

House Bill 1003: Creates vouchers to allow public money to be diverted to private schools.  If passed, public schools are estimated to lose $110 million.