Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dems Don't Show, GOP Cries Foul; I Make Predictions...

Surprise! Okay, not really.

For the second day in a row, the Indiana House Democrats have stayed "in caucus" on what was supposed to be the second day of the legislative session.  Really, it's just a fancy term to say they didn't show up to do business.  They didn't head out of state and stay in a motel (yet), but they decided to not show up for work all the same.

And the issue?  Yep.  Right to work legislation being proposed by the Republicans.  It's deja vu all over again.

The Dems say they are only filibustering, and are arguing this year that the Republicans are trying to "cram through" the legislation.  An interesting point of view on a topic that's been on the agenda for two sessions now. Nonetheless, the Dems are demanding that the Republicans allow public hearings around the State on the issue before heading into the House chambers for a vote.

The Republicans are crying foul.  They say the Democrats are failing to show up for the work they were elected to do, and are stalling the completion of other important pieces of legislation as well.

Minority Leader Bauer
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Minority Leader Pat Bauer have been, as you might expect, the faces of the two sides of the argument.  Bauer, as part of his statement that these actions represent a filibuster, also stated that the Democrats do not intend to leave the state.

The statement seems to indicate that the Democrats are, at least currently, considering returning to the Chamber soon.  Failure to do so could not only begin building a $1,000 per day fine (something the Dems are not scared of, since the tab would likely be picked up by unions, like last years for the most part was,) but also potentially lead to the legislators arrest.  Fear of arrest is exactly why they left the state last year, and why they may again in 2012.

Speaker Bosma
I have my thoughts on right to work, and they lie somewhere in between the Democratic and Republican sides of the issue.  In lieu of an argument here, I'll lay out my predictions for the future.

  1. The Democrats, as they have announced, will continue to deny a quorum in the House. 
  2. Sometime between a week and two weeks into this, Bosma and Bauer will reach an agreement "in the interest of getting business done" that will allow for some of the public hearings on the matter. 
  3. Bauer and the Democrats will call for a large number of these to take place in heavily unionized towns like Kokomo.  Bosma and the GOP will call for a small number in towns that are hardly unionized at all.  There will end up being about 10 of these forums and they will be in a mix of union and non-union towns.
  4.  The turnout at these hearings is going to be 90%+ against right to work in the union towns, and 75%+ against right to work in the non-union towns. 
  5. The Democrats are going to shout from the rooftops that this is a clear indication that public sentiment is strongly against passing right to work. The Republicans are going to point out the fact that the reason the anti right to work turnout was so strong was because unions, both from Indiana and other states, flooded the cities where the forums were taking place and skewed the numbers.  They're going to make a note of the fact that many of the participants were paid by the unions to make the trip and be there.
  6. The GOP will point to a handful of public polls that will have been done that show the public as a whole supports right to work. 
  7. They will return to the Statehouse and vote the right to work legislation into law.
  8. (unless the Dems walk out again realizing that the legislation is still going to pass...a definite possibility.)

I'm interested in how you think this will play out.  Please leave your thoughts on how this will in the comments section below.

1 comment:

  1. I hope to God they don't pass "right to work". For the record, I am a former member of the Teamsters Local 215 (when I was employed by Coca Cola Enterprises), United Steelworkers Local 104 (when I was employed by Alcoa) and a current member of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 357 as a Fire Fighter in Evansville, IN. I have seen all the arguments for "right to work" and none of them hold any water in the real world. To hear the phrase, you would think they are freeing poor workers from being enslaved to the evil unions. In reality, it is allowing workers to reap all the benefits of union negotiated wages, benefits and workplace environment without paying for it. If "right to work" passes, I would still get the salary and benefits the union negotiated, the workplace safety and conduct rules the union negotiated, and also enjoy the benefits of seniority WITHOUT PAYING A DIME! The union would still be forced to represent a worker who doesn't pay union dues if he were to have a dispute with his employer. A worker would still reap the benefits of seniority when picking a job or vacation, even though he doesn't pay dues. You can only have 1 set of rules in a workplace. In a union shop, the majority of worker voted in a union to represent them to their employer, so all workers and the company must abide by the contract negotiated between the union and the company. That's called democracy. Just like the majority of people voted for Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama to represent them, and we all must follow the laws they pass, regardless if we agree with them or not. Could you workout at a gym without paying the monthly membership? Could you belong to a country club without paying? No, you couldn't. "Right to work" is nothing more than a badly disguised attempt to get rid of unions in this state in an effort to pay less to the middle class and more to the upper class. And we can argue all day about union workers being overpaid, but remember that wage was settled upon by the union and the company. Sorry if this was rambling or all over the place, but this is a terrible bill and will hurt the non-union worker more than the union worker. A slick politician once said, "a rising tide floats all boats." I don't agree with much else he said, but I agree with that. The only reason a non-union worker makes as much money and has his good benefits is because the union has set the bar. A non-union employer must pay close to (or above) union scale, or else 1 of 2 things will happen: 1.-His workers will quit and work for the union shop, giving the union shop the best workers, or 2.- His workers will organize and unionize his workplace. So it the threat of unionization (and eventually the union) is gone, what do you think will happen to your wages? Your benefits? Your workplace safety? Your job security? That's right, it will all be on the chopping block. Look, there are a lot of good employers out there. But there are a lot of bad ones too. And if you thing either of them treat their people right out of the kindness of their hearts, you're wrong. They have been dragged kicking and screaming into making their workplace safe, paying a decent wage and treating people fairly, in large part to the labor movement. I'm not saying the company store and 8 year olds working the coal mines will come back if "right to work" is passed, but a lot of things all American workers (union and especially non-union)take for granted will vanish.