Magic Number 23: Indiana Joins Other Right To Work States
In early February, the Indiana state senate voted 28-22 to add its name next to the number 23 on the list of right to work states. This makes it the first Rust Belt state to adopt this type of legislation. With this vote, it became the 23rd state in the nation to have a law allowing workers to opt out of unions.
States Opting Out of Federal Law
Under current federal union laws, companies and unions have the right to require workers to join a union in order to be employed at a particular business. This is known as a “closed shop.” Companies can also allow non-union workers, but require those workers to pay union dues in order to be employed at the location. Federal law gives states the right to pass legislation overriding this law, if they wish, which is what Indiana has done. In right to work states, companies can no longer require their workers to be in unions or to pay union dues in order to be employed.
Right to Work Plus Tax Advantages May Draw New Businesses
The passing of right to work may, in fact, draw new companies to Indiana, which is the hope of the state’s lawmakers. Indiana is already considered a business friendly state because of the many tax advantages it offers to companies. Gov. Mitch Daniels, who was originally an opponent of the bill, decided to sign it for this very reason. He saw over his eight years in office that many companies would not move to Indiana because it did not have a right to work law. With the law in place, he hopes to see more companies relocating and bringing jobs to the state.
Pro-Union Opponents Raise Protest
Those who are opposed to right to work legislation tend to be those who are pro-union. Many of the protestors who went to the capitol while the vote was underway stated that they felt the passing of this legislation would start a downward spiral toward lower wages and poor working conditions by taking power away from the unions.Continued on the next page