IBJNews

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."

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. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

ADVERTISEMENT