INDIANAPOLIS | The setting for Indiana's right-to-work battle shifted from the marble-walled Statehouse to a dull, gray conference room Tuesday, but the passionate opposition of Hoosier labor leaders was not diminished as they objected to rules needed to implement the state's right-to-work law.
The proposed rules set up procedures the Indiana Department of Labor would follow if an employee claimed he or she was forced to pay dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment. No complaints have been received since the law banning such payments took effect March 14.
Pete Rimsans, executive director of the Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council, said the proposed rules are "job-killing regulations" intended to discourage contractors and small-business owners from hiring union workers by imposing burdensome paperwork requirements.
President Nancy Guyott of the Indiana AFL-CIO said the proposed rules also likely violate federal law by seeming to prohibit the direct transfer of dues from union member paychecks to a labor organization.
"These rules as drafted represent an unconscionable and unlawful power grab," Guyott said. "It puts employers in untenable circumstances where they have to decide which set of laws they should violate because compliance with both is not possible."
More than 75 union members packed the room and an adjacent hallway during a public hearing on the proposed rules, echoing the thousands of union workers that filled the Statehouse for weeks earlier this year while the Legislature debated right-to-work.
Indiana Labor Commissioner Lori Torres can revise the proposed rules in response to public comments. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels must approve the rules for them to take effect.