Tens of Thousands Stand Up for Fundamental American Freedom to Bargain Collectively

Mar 10, 2011, 13:00 ET from Laborers' International Union of North America

Men and Women Who Build Indiana Speak Out Against Attack on Workers' Basic Rights at Capitol Rally

"Who Will Balance the Power of Corporate Cash and Speak for the Middle Class if the Attack on Unions Succeeds?"

INDIANAPOLIS, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the face of the most vicious attack on the rights of American workers in generations, thousands of Indiana members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – joined a massive gathering of working men and women at the Indiana Statehouse to protest anti-worker legislation and defend the fundamental American right to unite for a common cause and collectively bargain.

LIUNA members from across the state walked off jobsites and forwent pay to join Thursday's protest in a massive show of force intended to put anti-worker politicians and special interests on notice.

"The anti-worker special interests and the politicians they got into office think they can trample all over the rights of working people, but the people in Indiana, Wisconsin and across the country are uncovering their motives and their over-reach," said LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan, who joined the rally and leads 13,000 Indiana LIUNA members. "These attacks on fundamental American values – the right to join together, the right to speak collectively – must not succeed if our nation is to remain the land of the free. Who will balance the power of corporate cash and speak for the middle class if the attack on unions succeeds?"

The rally at the Statehouse is the latest in a string of protests that began in Wisconsin and spread across America, as working people stood up in support of their basic rights and against efforts to eliminate them.

"Working people in America have been through enough the past few years," said Lee Russell, a member of LIUNA Local 581 in Evansville. "We can't let these politicians take away the unions that fight for them. If not them, who will?"

Republicans in the Assembly are using the state's budget troubles – caused largely by runaway greed on Wall Street – as an excuse to dismantle rights that, for decades, have allowed working people, through their unions, to stand together as advocates for working Americans and as a check on corporate power.

"They're trying to take away our voice, but I'm not about to let that happen," said Diane Emerson, a member of LIUNA Local 120 in Indianapolis. "We're all standing together so that every working man and woman, union or non-union, can have a good job that lets them support their family and their community."

While action by LIUNA members and other Indiana workers has already succeeded in killing so-called right-to-work legislation for this session, the attacks continue in the form of other bills, including legislation that would gut the state's common construction wage law and eliminate the use of project labor agreements – both of which promote the creation of good jobs that support families and communities.

The attacks in Indiana are part of a coordinated, national effort by wealthy anti-worker interests to take away the voice of working class and middle class Americans. Key financiers of the effort include the Koch Brothers, owners of Georgia-Pacific. In recent weeks, multiple polls have shown increasing majority support for the right of working people to unite and bargain collectively and intense opposition to attacks on workers' unions.

LIUNA members are among those leading the charge against these anti-worker attacks. In February, over 5,000 members, including nearly 1,000 from Indiana, joined a conference call that kicked off the effort to repel attacks on workers' basic rights in seven states – Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

SOURCE Laborers' International Union of North America