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.
Image credit: Indiana Public Media