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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT