March 10, 2011- Thousands of union supporters ignored icy winds today for a rally outside the Indiana Statehouse calling for lawmakers to drop measures that would cut back on labor rights.
"The working men and women of Indiana have come back to take back the people's house for the people of Indiana," Nancy Guyott, leader of the Indiana AFL-CIO, told the rally.
Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Ind, one of the Indiana Democrats that forced the Indiana House into a three-week deadlock by holding out in an Illinois hotel, addressed the crowd that filled the massive plaza on the west side of the Statehouse.
The Democrats want Republicans to take a repeal of the prevailing-wage law and private school vouchers off the table to end the impasse, Crawford said.
Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers. said that corporate America started a war on unions. "We're going to kick their ass," Gerard said.
The rally began with a minister praying for justice, and wisdom for lawmakers.
A Marine veteran of Iraq and son of a steelworker led the crowd in reciting Pledge of Allegiance
The rally crowd peaked at more than 8,000 people at noon and slipped to about 7,000 by 1 pm., Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Dave Bursten said.