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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Organized Labor Protests As Football Fans Flock To Indianapolis

Rob Parsons, a steelworker from Merrillville, Ind., screams during a union workers protest on the steps of the Statehouse after the Senate voted to pass the right-to-work bill in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. The governor is expected to sign the bill later in the day.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Rob Parsons, a steelworker from Merrillville, Ind., screams during a union workers protest on the steps of the Statehouse after the Senate voted to pass the right-to-work bill in Indianapolis. (AP)

All eyes are on Indianapolis this week. The city is hosting the Super Bowl and thousands of fans and journalists are pouring into the city. But there’s another big story in town: Indiana has a new right to work law and yesterday union workers and their supporters were out protesting the new law.

Union workers want visitors to know that their skills helped build the city’s football stadium and without the stadium the city wouldn’t be hosting the event. But labor worries that more protests might anger visitors.


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  • Gwojty

    “Right to Work”…When will the non-unionized
    workers of America realize that they should aspire to the reasonable wages and benefits
    that their union counterparts have negotiated for?

  • elitry

    I’m in Indiana, and really appreciate that you asked in the interview what state residents think about the legislation.  I thought the reporter was spot on: we didn’t demand Right to Work from our representatives.  In fact, the rush to legislate excluded many constituents from even developing an informed opinion.  While we hear from our representatives that we ‘need’ this to create a better business climate for corporations, few Hoosiers are clamoring for jobs at the expense of worker protection.  

    I think there’s some awareness that the Daniels Administration is simply engaged in a breakneck race to the bottom in the name of job creation.  So, we’ll steal some manufacturing from Canada (Google “London, ON Caterpillar” if you don’t believe me), but by and large most of us realize that the manufacturing jobs that left the nation are not coming back (no matter how far worker rights are compromised, no Hoosier could ever live on the $0.31 / hour wage corporations are extracting from exploited Chinese workers).   This is an ironic point of the current administration’s platform; I was certainly under the impression that they were targeting innovative technologies and industries. It’s hard to know how such legislation will really impact typical working families in Indiana.  Ultimately, it’s harder not to wonder if this legislation is one element of a larger, national, partisan agenda at the behest of well-paid lobbyists.  Regardless, if an issue like this can mobilize thousands of Hoosiers (some of the most passive political participants I have ever come across), the issue was worth further debate.  

    On a side note: I found the reluctance of union workers to chant in Superbowl Village a fascinating component of the story.      

    Thanks for your coverage – would love a deeper investigation.     

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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