INDIANAPOLIS | All union organizing elections would have to be conducted by secret ballot under an amendment to the Indiana Constitution approved 33-16 by the Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday.
The amendment, sponsored by state Sens. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, and Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, is intended to block a proposed federal law known as "card check" that would allow a workplace union to form without an election if more than half the employees signed union authorization cards.
Banks said it is important to preserve the secret ballot "as a matter of freedom to workers across the state of Indiana."
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, argued the issue isn't significant enough to require changing Indiana's fundamental governing document.
"This actually applies ... to a federal law that hasn't even been passed yet and it's probably not likely to be passed," Tallian said. "But if we want to nip at the heels of labor unions again, why don't we do this as a bill? This is not a basis for a constitutional amendment."
The proposed amendment now advances to the Republican-controlled House.
If approved by the House this year and approved again by both chambers during the 2015 or 2016 legislative session, the amendment would go to Hoosier voters for ratification at the November 2016 general election.