2/6/11

Modernizing Hoosier Labor Laws

194,000 workers compelled into forced-labor unionism
Question: What is the No. 1 thing Indiana lawmakers could do to put more Hoosiers back to work? Answer: Pass a right-to-work law.

Why should Indiana become the 23rd right-to-work state?

•If Indiana had adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, the household (family of four) income of Hoosiers would be $11,700 higher than it is today! That is critically important considering Indiana's per capita income growth from 1977 to 2008 was 37.2 percent compared to 62.3 percent for residents of right-to-work states during that same period.

•Site selection experts across the country and our own secretary of commerce emphasize that 30 to 40 percent of companies/consultants won't even consider non right-to-work states for their business growth and expansion plans.

•Public backing for right-to-work has remained strong. Statewide voter polls have consistently shown support levels of 70 percent or higher. Even a significant number (44 percent) of union households are right-to-work supporters.

•Finally, there is the simple issue of fairness. Workers should not be forced to join a union and/or pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job; currently there are approximately 194,000 Hoosier workers in that situation.

Federal law allows contracts that force employees to join the union or pay an equal dues amount in order to keep their jobs. But it also allows states to adopt right-to-work laws that prohibit such contracts. Workers would still have the opportunity to join or support a labor union, but under the right-to-work law it would be the individual's choice - not one dictated by union leaders.

With Indiana's unemployment rate still hovering near 10 percent and competition for economic development projects - and the high-wage positions they bring - at an all-time high, shouldn't Indiana pass a right-to-work law to accelerate job and wage growth for Hoosiers?

Kevin Brinegar
President, Indiana Chamber of Commerce
(from tristate-media.com)

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