IBJNews

State commerce chief backs right-to-work law

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana lawmakers debated right to work legislation Tuesday that sparked a five-week walkout by House Democrats earlier this year and could set a contentious tone when lawmakers reconvene in January.

Commerce Secretary Mitch Roob opened a daylong hearing, saying that he supported right to work legislation because it makes it easier to bring manufacturing jobs to Indiana. But Roob's boss, Gov. Mitch Daniels, has been circumspect on whether he would support a bill.

"We do miss opportunities because we are not a right to work state," Roob told members of the General Assembly's Interim Study Committee on Employment.

House Democrats left the state for five weeks this year to block Republicans from obtaining a quorum and thereby advancing the measure. The move was similar to that of Wisconsin Senate Democrats who staged a walkout to stifle Republican Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to cut collective bargaining rights.

Shortly after House Democrats returned to Indiana in March, Republicans approved new fines that would attempt to block future walkouts.

The proposal would allow workers to be protected under labor contracts without having to pay union dues. Twenty-two states have approved right to work legislation, most of them more than 50 years ago.

Democrats on the panel blasted the "right to work" proposal Tuesday saying it would depress wages for Hoosier workers and do nothing to bring more jobs to the state.

Although Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, said Tuesday it would be "premature" to consider another walkout until the proposal is actually drafted and submitted before lawmakers, who return for the 2012 session in January.

House Republican leaders have not yet said whether they will bring the measure up again for consideration next year.

During the 2011 legislative session Daniels asked lawmakers not work on the measure specifically because it would have sucked the air out of the room for other proposals.

"I wasn't in favor of its consideration of it in this last legislative session, as you all know, because we hadn't had this kind of an open process and airing of all the issues," Daniels said. "So let's have that airing and then we'll have something more definitive to say."

Many businesses will dismiss locating in a state out of hand, if it does not have right to work laws, said Katie Culp, senior vice president of the Indianapolis-based Cassidy Turley, who runs the firm's economic development program. Culp said, however, she could not name any of those specific businesses because of confidential negotiations.

The average annual earnings of workers in states with right to work laws are $1,500 less than what workers make on average in other states, said Gordon Lafer, a professor at University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center. Consumer spending also decreases greatly in those states, he said.

"That's what it supposed to do. It's supposed to attract out-of-state manufacturers by lowering wages and benefits," Lafer said.

But businesses tend to make decisions on where to locate less on union rules than on more important measures like transportation infrastructure and workforce education, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am also a "vet" of several Cirque shows and this one left me flat. It didn't have the amount of acrobatic stunts as the others that I have seen. I am still glad that I went to it and look forward to the next one but I put Varekai as my least favorite.

  2. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  3. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  4. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  5. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

ADVERTISEMENT