State economic development group backs right-to-work

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has thrown its support behind the push for right-to-work legislation.

The agency, which uses tax incentives and training grants to attract business expansions to Indiana, unanimously passed a resolution to support the legislation, which Republican lawmakers have promised to push in the upcoming General Assembly. The IEDC said the state doesn’t even get a chance to compete for as many as half of the expansion projects out there “due solely to the absence of a right-to-work law.”

"The last seven years of IEDC experience tell us that Indiana is blocked from too many job opportunities because we do not provide right-to-work protection to our workers," said former Lt. Gov. John Mutz, who is a member of the IEDC board of directors and chairman of its policy committee, in a prepared statement. "Especially in this tough national economy, it's a handicap."

Right-to-work laws allow employees to join unionized workplaces without being forced to pay union dues. Labor unions feel threatened by such legislation, which has been passed in roughly half of U.S. states. Indiana Democrats staunchly oppose the legislation, which sparked them to stage a five-week walkout during the 2011 General Assembly.

House Republicans backed off the proposal quickly, but they’re bringing it back now, saying it is their No. 1 priority in the 2012 session. House Speaker Brian Bosma has even been spending his own campaign cash to buy ads supporting the law, according to a report by The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne.

The IEDC is part of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ administration, but the agency made a point of saying that Daniels, who chairs the IEDC board, does not vote on resolutions and did not participate in Thursday’s vote.

Daniels has yet to say whether he will support that legislative push, but he came awfully close during a Nov. 29 press conference, which was reported on by several news media outlets.

“I’ll just say that in this national economy we need absolutely every edge we can get to bring the middle-class jobs here that are in short supply all over the country,” he said. “I’ll also observe there’s a lot of competition particularly in our region.”

Daniels has said he will detail his legislative agenda during a Dec. 16 speech to the Kiwanis Club.

An interim study committee held hearings on right-to-work this summer and fall, and voted 5-4 along party lines to recommend that the Legislature consider it.

Abbreviating right-to-work as RTW, the majority report stated, “Becoming a RTW state would likely bring more jobs to Indiana by making the state even more attractive to relocating and expanding companies.”

But four dissenting members of the committee, in their own report, said the evidence from other states suggests no such thing. They worry that a right-to-work law would lower Hoosier wages, but give Indiana no great advantage in attracting jobs.

“RTW is also not an effective strategy for winning a competition for low wages in a global economy,” the four members wrote. “The availability of cheap labor overseas limits the effectiveness of RTW policies to attract companies looking for lower labor costs.”

Sen. Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte), one of the dissenting members of the study committee, said the predominantly Republican proponents of right-to-work legislation favor it more because they see it as a free-speech issue and because it will weaken unions, which typically support Democrats.

"I think their reasons are more political than pragmatic, quite honestly. Why do we feel it’s so important to address the 11 or 12 percent of [the workforce that are] union members," Arnold said in an interview. He added, "It’s a needless, senseless fight to be taken on at this point in time."


Post a comment to this story

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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?