Indiana Poised To Pass Right-To-Work Law

INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — Indiana is now poised to become the first right-to-work state in the nation’s industrial belt.

As CBS News Correspondent Heather Bosch reports, a bill that would stop workers from having to pay to join a union passed the Indiana State House of Representatives Wednesday by a vote of 54-44.

LISTEN: CBS News Correspondent Heather Bosch reports


The bill is also expected to clear the state Senate.

“Adopting a right to work law will increase Indiana’s economy, bringing more customers and growth to Indiana’s small businesses,” said National Federation of Independent Businesses state director Barbara Quandt.

But Jeff Harris, of the state AFL-CIO, warns that a right-to-work law could be disastrous for workers.

“If you look at states that have enacted this policy, the average worker loses about $5,500 in salary per year,” he said.

Indiana would mark the first win in 10 years for national right-to-work advocates who have pushed unsuccessfully for the measure in other states following a Republican sweep of statehouses in 2010. But few right-work states boast Indiana’s union clout, borne of a long manufacturing legacy.

Oklahoma, with its rural-based economy that produces comparatively fewer union jobs than Indiana, passed right-to-work legislation in 2001.

Indiana’s vote came after weeks of protest by minority Democrats who tried various tactics to stop the bill. They refused to show up to debate despite the threat of fines that totaled $1,000 per day and introduced dozens of amendments aimed at delaying a vote. But conceding their tactics could not last forever because they were outnumbered, they finally agreed to allow the vote to take place.

If the right-to-work law wins final approval, Indiana will become the 23rd state with such a law.

Over the past year, Republicans have pushed for other anti-union laws in battleground Rust Belt states where many of the country’s manufacturing jobs reside, including Wisconsin and Ohio, but they also have faced backlash from Democrats and union supporters.

Wisconsin was at the center of the headlines for weeks last year, as Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican lawmakers approved a bill that stripped public sector unions of collective bargaining rights.

Walker pushed through a law that forbids most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation. It also requires public workers to pay more toward their pensions and double their health insurance contribution, a combination equivalent to an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker.

Amid heated protests in Madison, Wis., the state’s 14 Senate Democrats left and hid out in Illinois, thus preventing the quorum required for the state Senate to vote on bills involving spending money.

Republicans fought back by taking all the spending measures out of the legislation, but keeping in the provision to restrict collective bargaining rights for state employees. The bill passed a short time later without the Democrats.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jim

    When do we get our right to work law? It seems like the right direction. Unions are bankrupting this state!!!

    • Me

      It will never happen. Not unless the Union controlled cronies that run this state are kicked out and all the various Union protecting laws are scrubbed from the books.

  • THEE Yard Ape

    GO INDIANA !!!! Enough of the extortionized labor movement!!!

  • Me

    Awesome. This will improve a company’s ability to hire properly trained people for their jobs. Yes there will be some skirting the system by not having to grease the palms of the Union thugs to get untrained workers…but that just saves the company money.

    Proof that Unions are corrupt and useless…I applied to work at Jewel many years ago. Part of the application was a REQUREMENT to join the Union. If you read the fineprint you realized that only the full-time, non-management employees got Union protection. The other 95% of folk, those that didn’t work 40hrs/wk often enough to qualify as FT, were not protected, yet they had to pay. I stopped even shopping at Jewel for 7-8 years after finding that out even though the store was literally next door. Osco was not Union at the time…I ended up working there and packed a lunch every day.

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