Super Bowl
This year the Super Bowl pits labor against conservative lawmakers. Image: astrolame/Flickr/CC BY-ND

On Wednesday, Indiana became the 23rd right-to-work state in the nation. The state bill’s passage, in essence, disallows workers from unionizing. Now labor groups are embracing the Occupy movement and planning high-profile protest demonstrations at Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday.

Many demonstrations planned

The Indiana chapter of one of the nation’s largest trade unions — the AFL-CIO — will be distributing literature at Lucas Oil Stadium, which will be hosting the big game this year. UNITE HERE, a union for hospitality workers, will demonstrate on Friday. And local Occupy protesters will be staging demonstrations all weekend long.

On the capitol steps

The Occupiers also joined with labor groups last weekend in Indianapolis and held demonstrations to try to stop the passage of the Indiana bill. Protesters brandished such slogans as “Workers United Will Prevail,” “Fight the Lie” and “Occupy the Super Bowl.”

Those efforts were continued Wednesday on  the state capitol steps in protest of the bill’s signing into law by Governor Mitch Daniels.

Organized workers feel betrayed

Muncie iron worker Bruce Frazier, 56, joined more than 1,000 protesters at the state’s capitol on Wednesday. He told reporters:

“We built everything in Indianapolis to bring the Super Bowl here — and this is how they thank us, by breaking our way to make a living.”

After the bill was signed into law, labor leader Nancy Guyott of the AFOL-CIO announced:

“We’ll take our state back, one block at a time.”

A private signing

The new law was put to a vote by Indiana Republican lawmakers and passed 28-22. In the face of such heated controversy, Governor Daniels eschewed the normal public signing ceremony and signed the bill in private. Daniels, a Republican, is not able to seek re-election this year because of the state’s term limit laws.

The law forbids any labor organization that charges union dues. Its passage was only the most recent setback for organized labor. Membership in unions has fallen off drastically in recent years.

An continuation of last week’s protests

Protesters say the continued protest is necessary, even though it will not stop the law’s passage, because, as one protester, Bill Mullen, put it: they must try to stop the “horrible domino effect” that its passage could have on other states.

Republican politicians across the nation have been lobbying to reduce the power of trade organizations, saying they put a stranglehold on free enterprise.


Huffington Post 
In These Times
Labor Notes 

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