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Indiana House Democrats end boycott of right-to-work bill

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Democrats in the Indiana state House of Representatives on Monday ended a three-day boycott blocking Republican-backed right-to-work legislation that opponents view as an assault on unions.

House Democratic leader Pat Bauer said the three-day boycott by most Democrats last week gave them a chance to circulate information about the measure around Indiana.

Republicans hold a 60-40 majority in the Indiana House, which needs a quorum of two-thirds of its members to be brought to order. With 98 representatives present on Monday, the bill was assigned to a committee for discussion Tuesday.

An Indiana Senate committee on Friday advanced a right-to-work bill to the full Senate for consideration.

Under the proposed right-to-work law, employees at unionized private workplaces would not be required to pay union dues. Supporters say the move would attract jobs to Indiana. Critics call it union busting.

Last year, House Democrats fled the state to neighboring Illinois to avoid voting on a similar right-to-work bill and other legislation they viewed as anti-labor and anti-public education. The bill died, and other bills were altered.

If the right-to-work proposal is approved, Indiana would be the first state in the industrial heartland of the United States to adopt such a law. It is in force in 22 other states, mostly in the South and West.

(Reporting by Susan Guyett; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune)

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