A group opposed to mandatory union membership is hailing the passage of a bill that makes Indiana the first right-to-work state in the upper Midwest.
“No American should be forced to join a labor union just to
keep a job, and no resident of Indiana should be required to pay dues to an
organization he or she does not believe in,” said 2012 Associated Builders and
Contractors national Chairman Eric Regelin, president of Granix LLC in Ellicott
City, Md. “The new right-to-work law will allow workers to freely decide
whether to join a union.”
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill Wednesday, hours after its approval by
the state Senate. Indiana is the 23rd state to enact a right-to-work law, which
bans union membership or the payment of dues as a condition of employment, and
the first one in a decade. Also significant is that Indiana is part of the
so-called Rust Belt - once-prosperous Midwest states such as Michigan, Ohio and
Wisconsin that have suffered population and job losses as residents fled to
warmer climates. Most have a long history of unionized workers involved in
Regelin said he hopes other states follow Indiana’s lead.
“Right-to-work legislation has been introduced in 13 other states,” he said.
“This suggests that state lawmakers, strapped with massive budget deficits,
falling revenues and stagnant economic growth, are considering right-to-work
laws to lure new businesses into their states and help turn their economies
Experts, however, say the benefits of such laws on job growth are not clear,
and passage of similar laws in nearby states anytime soon is
unlikely heading to an election year.