Indiana votes in favor of right-to-work bill
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 1/11/2012, 6:03 p.m.
The Indiana state Senate Pensions and Labor Committee, in a 6-4 vote, approved Senate Bill 269, also known as the right-to-work law. The law now makes it a class A misdemeanor to require an individual to join or remain in a union or to pay any dues, fees or other charges to that same labor organization.
The bill now goes to the state Senate.
Some business owners and their allies claim employees shouldn't be forced to join unions and that right-to-work laws make states more attractive to companies. Unions argue that right-to-work laws weaken collective bargaining and drive down wages, and workers who don't pay dues shouldn't receive all the same benefits as dues-paying members.
A study by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that those championing right-to-work laws conveniently leave out certain facts that do not support their position.
"In all these cases, lobbyists have trumpeted spurious connections and/or concealed much more telling data-all in the service of painting a hopeless picture of Indiana's economy," said Gordon Lafer of the Economic Policy Institute in a report on the right-to-work movement. "Political advocates who begin with an ideological conclusion and then search for data to support their cause are usually able to find some set of numbers that appears to point to the desired outcome. But such methods are a disservice to public debate and to legislators charged with forging effective economic policy. When subjected to rigorous scholarly analysis, it is clear that the arguments advanced by RTW [right-to-work] advocates are not borne out by economic reality."
Meanwhile, support for the union movement in Indiana is coming from interesting places. Recently, the National Football League Players Association showed solidarity with unions in Indiana. In an official statement, the association said right-to-work isn't about the people, it's about management. "NFL players know what it means to fight for workers' rights, better pensions and health and safety in the workplace," read the statement. The right-to-work bill, the statement went on, is "not about jobs or rights, and it's the wrong priority for Indiana."