Local News Politics

An Indiana Senate committee has voted 6-4 in favor of a controversial labor bill pushed by the Republican majority.

The so-called “right-to-work” legislation would prohibit unions at private companies from collecting mandatory dues or fees.

The vote by the Senate Labor committee came after a five-hour hearing. One Republican member, Sen. Brent Waltz, voted ‘no,’ saying he was not convinced of the policy’s economic benefits.

The hearing included testimony from labor leaders who called it a union-busting bill. But Republican Senator Carlin Yoder says the legislation is not intended to weaken organized labor.

“I’m here to say today that we need to become a right-to-work state to help out those workers who are unemployed,” Yoder told colleagues.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

For the second year, the issue has prompted another boycott of legislative business by House Democrats, who stalled House proceedings for a third consecutive day.     But House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer suggested today that his caucus could return to the chamber Monday, acknowledging that they can’t stall forever.

The hearing also drew hundreds of union demonstrators to the Statehouse.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."