Indiana Next Front In Union Battle

Big labor battles didn’t end in 2011.  On Wednesday the Indiana House was set to return for a 10-week session to debate a so-called right-to-work bill that would ban negotiations between a union and company if workers are forced to pay fees for representation.

But Democrats did not show up for the legislative session, instead remaining in private meetings and thus preventing the Republican majority from reaching the quorum necessary to start the session.

Democrats have been clear in what it will take to return to start the session: public hearings, held around the state, on the right-to-work bill.  A poll conducted this past November for Ball State University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs in Muncie, Ind. found that while 27 percent of Indiana residents support the right to work and 24 oppose it, 48 percent remain undecided.

So far Republicans refuse to hold such hearings and have instead criticized Democrats for their refusal to come for the vote.

The New York Times issued a strongly-worded editorial against the anti-union push rightly calling it a covert attack to weaken unions, and by proxy Democrats, by slashing their funding and donating power.  “It stands to reason that a union will reduce a company’s profits somewhat, by obtaining a higher share for workers. But over the last three decades, economists have found that unionization has a minimal impact on growth and employment in an entire state or country. In fact, six of the 10 states with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws. North Carolina, a right-to-work state, has a private sector unionization rate of 1.8 percent, the lowest in the nation. It also has the sixth highest unemployment rate: 10 percent.”

If the right-to-work bill does become law, Indiana would become the 23rd state with such legislation but would be the first in the manufacturing belt.

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Photo from Kheel Center, Cornell University via flickr.


Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

Wejn I was the steward I never allowed that kind of talk,Nancy. It might be your chief steward was bad. There is no reason for that kind of talk. EVERYONE is their to please the customer.

Nancy L.
Nancy L.4 years ago

The worst job I had was with a union - the phone company. Everything was "us against our bosses" - all the time. Not a nice feeling. Everyone had an attitude that we were up against our bosses. No reason for that.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

I have worked for non union companies...I looked for a job that had a union...I found one, and that has been the best employment I have ever had. The company had a lot of employees, I never talked to even one that would go back to a non union company. Not one! We were happy to pay our dues, it was worth the better pay and benefits. Oh yes we worked hard and did a good job. People could be fired for bad behavior or not doing the job. The employers still made more money than the employees, and had happy workers.

Yes Steve, on question #6 I will have to vote yes.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

Right to work really means...Right to work for less money, less benefits, less regulation on greedy employers, less fairness, and less security. But other than that it's great, where do I sign up for those wonderful jobs?

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago


Mark S.
Mark S.4 years ago

P.S., also my father's union protected him from being treated unfairly by the bosses and co-workers. He almost got fired once, but the union saved his job.

Mark S.
Mark S.4 years ago

Right to work benefits employers most. Then can pay the lowest wages that way. My father was a Union Man (IAM) for about 60 years. He got a pension, and health insurance for the whole family, paid vacations, holidays and weekends off (unless he wanted overtime), and really good pay. I wish I could get into a union like that.

jerry coleman
jerry coleman4 years ago

Right to work is good for big business the worker

Diane F.
Diane F.4 years ago

Martha E. You are so right about Right to Work. I also live in Texas. Right to Work only benefits the employer. It is only a hardship for the employee. Employer can let you go for no reason "It's just not working out" is a common statement. Yes, as a "Right to Work" benefit an employee can quit for no reason also. But the employee must give 'proper' notice or not be considered to have left in "good standing". It's no-win without a good reference from a past employer when looking for a job. You can lose accumulated vacation pay, etc. There's more bad stuff about Right to Work. Being in a union state is much better as there is at least some protection. Texas is an anti-union state.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

I live in Texas, a right to work state -- such a euphemism, for something that keeps people down to low wages. A PUBLIC forum is needed, so people can voice their opinions -- obviously, the repubs know that THE PEOPLE don't want this when they know the facts.