Indiana has become the first Rust Belt state to enact a right-to-work labor law, prohibiting employment contracts that require workers to pay union fees or join unions.
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill Wednesday afternoon after it passed the Indiana Senate hours earlier following weeks of discord that saw House Democrats boycott the Legislature and thousands of protesters gather at the Statehouse.
Indiana is the first state in a decade to enact a right-to-work law.
"Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered," Daniels said in a statement. A spokeswoman said he would not take questions on the measure Wednesday.
Supporters say the measure helps create a pro-business climate that attracts employers and increases jobs. Opponents say right-to-work laws lead to lower wages and poorer quality jobs.
Protesters say the fight isn't over and note that Indiana passed right-to-work legislation once before, but repealed it. Some plan to distribute leaflets at Sunday's Super Bowl.
Hundreds of union workers were downtown Wednesday to protest the bill in front of the Statehouse and at the Super Bowl Village on nearby Georgia Street.