Democrats in Indiana may stage walkout to block labor bill there

In Indiana, a House committee on Monday approved legislation to change state law so that private-sector workers no longer would be required to pay dues or belong to a union that bargains on their behalf. Unions say this would erode union membership, and eventually their finances and political clout, if workers decided not to join or pay dues. Supporters say the change would make the state more competitive and attract employers.

Democratic representatives in Indiana caucused into the night Monday, discussing a possible walkout to deny Republicans a quorum. They plan to meet again Tuesday morning. Rep. David Niezgodski of South Bend said Monday night that some Democrats are considering a walkout, contending the majority “are waging a war on the middle class now, in a way we’ve never seen before.”…

Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has aggressively gone after the state’s public-sector unions, taking away their collective-bargaining rights on his first day in office in 2005. He is also pushing the state legislature this session to weaken tenure protection for teachers. But he has opposed the right-to-work bill that is now stirring anger in Indianapolis, fearing it would distract from his main legislative priorities.