Tens of thousands gather at Indiana’s statehouse to support workers’ rights

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, March 10, 2011 14:44 EDT
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Facing down icy conditions, tens of thousands of union workers and supporters gathered outside Indiana’s statehouse Thursday to protest a bill that would strip all union workers of their bargaining rights.

Like in Wisconsin, a number of the state’s elected Democrats have fled, preventing a vote from taking place. Also like Wisconsin, the protests have only grown in recent weeks.

According to organizers, Thursday’s protest was the biggest of them all, possibly even eclipsing a 1995 union protest that many have called the largest in Indiana’s history.

An AFL-CIO organizer echoed the sentiment, telling a local television station they expected over 25,000 on Thursday.

The state’s Republicans want to turn Indiana into a “right to work” state like Texas, where workers are essentially prohibited from organizing to bargain with their managers.

Indiana Republicans were also pushing two other bills that Democrats adamantly objected to: one that would limit wages paid on public construction projects, and another that would use tax dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools.

Leo Gerard, the president of United Steelworkers, told The Indianapolis Star during Thursday’s protest that he came to demonstrate because of what he saw as a corporate war on working people.

And “we’re going to kick their ass,” he reportedly said.

The Star also had a photo feature showing an on-the-ground view of the protests.

The video below is from WISH-TV in Indiana, broadcast March 9, 2011.

Thousands plan to rally in Indy Thursday: wishtv.com

Image credit: Indiana Public Media

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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