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. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...