LaPorte - Firewood was stacked high outside the MonoSol plant as bundled-up Teamsters huddled around burn barrels and open fires in the frigid chill. The plant that normally cranks out water-dissolvable film for Tide Pods and other single-use detergents and dishwasher soaps sat quietly behind a barbed wire fence, its windows dark and its parking lot empty. Workers picketed outside. They stood in circles in the bitter cold amid the acrid smell of wood smoke, a giant inflatable Scabby the Rat and a Teamsters semi-trailer truck. Passing trucks often blared their horns in solidarity in the industrial park. Their tents were stocked with bottled water and other provisions. They brought in porta-potties and Frisbee golf to pass the time. They're prepared to stick it out for the long haul.
An electronic vote of all Bloomington faculty has expressed overwhelming support for efforts of the Indiana University graduate student employees to seek union recognition. Between April 13 and the end of the spring semester, graduate student employees at Indiana University Bloomington, organizing with the United Electrical Workers, struck for campus recognition. The strike was temporarily suspended on May 10th for the summer, with plans for broader and deeper participation should the strike resume in the fall. Faculty on the Bloomington campus were galvanized to support graduate employees by the anti-union response by the campus administration which refused any dialogue with representatives of the union, the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE).
Tensions were running high Wednesday evening in downtown Indianapolis as protesters both for and against abortion met in demonstrations at Monument Circle. The crowd of at least 500 people was made up mostly of pro-abortion rights activists, with about 25 anti-abortion protesters. Police blocked off nearby streets as the two groups converged at close distances, sometimes yelling at each other. The pro-abortion rights group chanted "abortion ban has got to go" and "we stand with Roe", while the anti-abortion group chanted "we are the pro-life generation and we will abolish abortion." Anna Benz, 35, of Castleton, said Wednesday was the first protest she has ever attended.
Bloomington, Indiana - As the graduate worker strike at Indiana University extends into finals week, some faculty members and students plan to take bold measures against the administration to show their solidarity. On Tuesday, graduate students who are part of the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition voted to extend the graduate student workers' strike through May 3. The extension was supported by 867 votes, a 95.7% majority. Since the strike's beginning on April 13, graduate workers have been requesting union recognition from IU and an outlined process on how to discuss benefits, higher wages and fee reduction with administrators. Around this time of year, graduate workers such as Cole Nelson would typically be heading into one of their busiest weeks of the semester.
Bloomington, Indiana - Around 1,000 graduate student workers at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus are on strike to demand the school recognize them as a union. But the school said it has no intention of bargaining with the group – and no legal obligation to do so. The Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers began the week-long strike on Wednesday. The strike includes in-person picket lines and labor education events scattered around campus. They say with recognition, graduate workers could better bargain for an end to an annual $700 student fee and better wages. The strike comes after IU denied a petition from roughly 1,600 graduate workers earlier this year asking that the school recognize the union and hold an election per its policy for staff.
Indianapolis, IN – A pastor is leading the charge of reclaiming an abandoned school and creating a community-and-trades center on the east side of Indianapolis. Pastor Denell Howard’s vision of The Evolve Education Center is slowly coming to fruition after years of planning, praying and a community effort to fix the building up. Requiring about a half million dollars to get the lights turned on, the center needs the help of the broader community to generate enough resources together. A volunteer named Stan, who spent months cleaning up the building, gave Unicorn Riot a tour of the reclaimed school in July 2021. We heard from Stan and Pastor Howard about their vision for the center and the work they’ve done up to that point.
Indiana - People love the pill. As a pediatrician and a researcher who studies access to contraception, I speak to patients from all walks of life, and, even if they choose not to use the birth control pill themselves, most people support making it affordable and easy to access for everyone. Its near-universal support is not surprising: Birth control can improve people’s lives by giving them the freedom to plan their families, allowing them to delay pregnancy until they decide they are ready. Still, for many people, getting to a doctor to get a prescription for birth control isn’t as easy as it should be. That’s why I support and advocate for legislation that would make Indiana the 20th state to expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to directly prescribe and dispense the birth control pill and patch.
Undocumented immigrants, immigrants and allies of the community passed through Bloomington Thursday on day six of their seven-day, 300-mile “Walk for Licenses” through Indiana, according to a press release from Cosecha Indiana. The goal of the walk, which started Saturday in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago, is to bring attention to the need for drivers licenses for undocumented Indiana residents, according to the release. The walk will end in Indianapolis on Saturday. Cosecha Indiana, which organized the walk, is a part of a national movement, working towards permanent protection, dignity and respect for all immigrant workers, according to their Facebook page The group started in Switchyard Park before marching to Sample Gates and then to the Islamic Center of Bloomington.
Accused of severely beating arrestees and attempting to cover up the repeated use of excessive force, three Indiana police officers were recently indicted on 12 counts. One of the officers is the former police chief’s son. On Friday, the Justice Department announced that a federal grand jury in Indianapolis, Indiana, charged Muncie Police Officer Joseph Chase Winkle, son of the former police chief, with nine felony offenses.
A pipeline spilled more than 8,000 gallons of jet fuel into an Indiana river, The Associated Press reported Sunday. The affected river was St. Marys River in Decatur, which is a town of 9,500 people about 100 miles from Indianapolis. Cleaning the spill could take weeks, Decatur Mayor Kenneth L. Meyer told the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Journal Gazette. The spill was first reported Friday night in a safety warning issued by the Decatur Police Department urging residents to avoid the area around the spill, local news outlet WANE reported Saturday. Houston-based Buckeye Pipe Line Company, L.P., which owns the pipeline, confirmed the spill to WANE Saturday. Company officials said there had been a failure Friday evening that had caused the spill.
For Richard Aguirre, protesting the deportations of people who have entered the country without permission from the Gary/Chicago International Airport was a natural extension of his work that stopped a proposed Elkhart County detention center last month. Gary activists had reached out, providing support and assistance for the effort, Aguirre said. He wanted to return the favor. "We feel connected to them, because they were with us when we started our struggle, so we want to be here as they continue their fight against these flights," said Aguirre, co-coordinator of the Coalition Against the Elkhart County Immigration Center. Shouting cries including "love, not hate makes America great," more than 200 protesters came to the Gary Jet Center on Friday where a busload of people who had entered the country illegally were expected to be boarded onto a plane for Texas, then deported.
By Danielle Ola for PV Tech - The financial benefit currently available to solar users will be sharply curtailed over the next few years, after Indiana governor Eric Holcomb signed SEA 309 into law yesterday. Ignoring pleas of the industry, who beseeched Holcomb to keep the current financial incentives for residential solar, the Republican elected not to veto the bill. “I support solar as an important part of Indiana’s comprehensive energy mix. I understand the concerns some have expressed, but this legislation ensures those who currently have interests in small solar operations will not be affected for decades,” he said of his decision. The bill will now drastically reduce the rate of compensation for excess solar power over five years. It does allow anyone who installed a PV system after June but before 2022 to be grandfathered until 2032, but anyone after the 2022 cut-off point would only receive a lower financial rate for their power. By 2046, solar users are likely to receive little more than the wholesale rate for their power – a difference of around US$0.08/kWh – as well as a US$0.25 premium. Yesterday was the last day Holcomb could veto or sign the bill, which critics contend is part of a broader nationwide push by utilities to seize control of the emerging solar market.
By Paulina Firoz for The Hill - A group of teachers in Indiana held a sit-in at the office of a senator they say should recuse himself from the vote to confirm President Trump’s pick for secretary of Education. The teachers say Betsy DeVos gave Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) $48,000 in donations last year, according to a report by local news outlet WTHR, which they say make his vote a conflict of interest. “Why would she pay so much, with so much desire to have this job if she were unqualified for it?” said one teacher said to WTHR at Thursday’s sit-in. Young is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is scheduled to hold an executive session to vote on DeVos’s nomination on Jan. 31.
By Sheila Kennedy for Inequality - Let me start with a few facts that should “afflict the comfortable” and motivate citizens of good will to “comfort the afflicted.” According to the latest Census numbers, more than 1 in 3 Hoosiers remain below self-sufficiency despite increased employment, 21.5 percent of Indiana’s children live in poverty, and the number of Hoosiers in poverty consistently hovers around one million.
By Alex Zielinski for Think Progress - Akeeshea Daniels first suspected something was off when her two toddlers came down with scarlet fever. It was 2004, and she just moved her family into a spacious public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana. “I looked it up. Scarlet fever hasn’t been a problem since the ‘50s,” she said. “It was something straight out of a history book.” But when she brought her concerns to the East Chicago Housing Authority — the manager of her public housing complex— she was brushed off.