MARC CHASE: Don't expect pay if you're not working

2013-06-27T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: Don't expect pay if you're not workingBy Marc Chase, (219) 662-5330

What if any of us walked off the job in protest because we didn't see eye-to-eye with our supervisors or co-workers?

Or say you really didn't like the majority of your corporation's board members and the new initiatives you were being asked to swallow. If you felt that strongly about it, you could resign and walk out the door. But would you really expect to come back the next day, let alone be paid for the time you spent stewing in protest and not actually working?

Shame on the Indiana House Democrats for doing just that, and congratulations to the Indiana Supreme Court for allowing more than $100,000 in fines withheld from the paychecks of these misguided lawmakers to stand.

In a 3-2 decision recently, the state's high court ruled it cannot interfere with the internal workings of the legislative branch, a true victory for separation of powers and taxpayers.

The ruling is exceptionally appropriate when you consider the House Democrats wanted to be paid -- at taxpayer expense -- after they fled Indiana for Urbana, Ill., during the 2011 session and routinely skipped 2012 House meetings.

Why the exodus? Because they disagreed with the right-to-work legislation being pushed by the Republican majority in the Statehouse. The House Democrats saw the bill, which eventually passed, as an anti-labor tool wielded against unions. The Democrats didn't like it, so they adopted an obstructionist posture, picked up their toys and left.

Then the Republican majority moved to withhold fines from the AWOL Democrats' paychecks. The Democrats stewed again, seeking satisfaction from the Indiana Supreme Court.

Thankfully, they didn't get that satisfaction. As they were protesting what they felt was an anti-union bill, the Democrats should have considered how labor unions work.

In organized labor, when the workers of a union shop have grievances with company leaders, those workers can walk out and strike.

If union members vote to strike, unions have funds that pay the workers during the period of organized picketing. The companies themselves are not expected to pay for workers who aren't on the job working, and businesses certainly aren't going to cut paychecks for folks who are boycotting their operations.

House Democrats shouldn't be surprised at all that their paychecks were lighter after they left the state in their anti-right-to-work snit. The taxpayers pay them to voice their grievances on the House floor, not hang out in a college town of a neighboring state.

Voters should consider this when they go to the polls for state offices.

Hopefully the Supreme Court ruling sends a strong message to lawmakers: Don't expect to be paid if you're not at the office.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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