Major Right to Work Victory in the Midwest

After years of intensely lobbying their elected officials and mobilizing their fellow citizens, pro-Right to Work Hoosiers saw a measure prohibiting forced union dues and fees signed into law this month.

Indiana Becomes the 23rd State to Abolish Forced Union Dues

(source: National Right to Work Committee February 2012 Newsletter)

Just as this edition of the National Right to Work Newsletter went to press, Indiana became the 23rd state to adopt a Right to Work law prohibiting union officials from taking money from employees’ paychecks as a condition of getting or keeping a job.

In the late afternoon on January 25, a 54-44 majority in Indiana’s state House of Representatives stood up to taunts and threats emanating from the hundreds of union bosses and other Big Labor militants who had been crowding the halls of the capitol for hours.

Consequently, H.B.1001, a measure making it illegal to fire employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union, was adopted and sent to the state Senate.

On February 1, the Senate, which had already passed another version of the Right to Work legislation, 28-22, approved H.B.1001 and sent it to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels’s desk.

Heeding the pleas of thousands and thousands of Hoosiers who passionately oppose compulsory unionism, late last year Mr. Daniels had publicly announced he was strongly in favor of making Indiana a Right to Work state.

Keeping his word, Mr. Daniels proceeded to sign the Right to Work measure into law once he got the chance.

Landmark Victory Comes Only After Nearly a Decade of Intense Mobilization Efforts

Right to Work’s Indiana victory could never have occurred without many years of careful preparation.

In 2003, Indiana citizens who were determined to free themselves and their fellow Hoosiers from the shackles of compulsory unionism launched what they knew from the start would be a sustained, and often difficult, effort to pass a Right to Work law.

Subsequently, the organization these citizens put into high gear in 2003, the Indiana Right to Work Committee, mobilized an ever-loudening drum beat of support for employee freedom and built up opposition to forced unionism in the state Legislature.

Over the course of the long campaign, the Indianapolis-based Right to Work group repeatedly benefited from the counsel and experience of the National Right to Work Committee.

And National Committee members and supporters who live in the Hoosier State have been the bulwark of the Indiana Right to Work campaign. This campaign undertook major mobilization efforts in the last four election cycles and secured three “unsuccessful” roll-call votes in the state House prior to last month’s successful one.

“The principle behind H.B.1001 is that no political authority should empower a labor union or any other private organization to extort financial support from people who don’t want to be members,” said National Committee President Mark Mix.

Forced Unionism Is ‘Morally Wrong,’ and It Is Also An ‘Economic Albatross’

“Compulsory unionism is wrong, plain and simple. Moreover, it is an economic albatross for Indiana and many other states and for America as a whole as our economy struggles to recover from the worst recession in decades,” Mr. Mix continued.

“Indiana couldn’t afford to ignore the fact that forced unionism hinders economic growth. Disparate state trends in employee compensation, that is, wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits, illustrate well the Right to Work advantage.

“From 2000 to 2010, the inflation-adjusted outlays of private-sector businesses increased by an average of 11.3% in the 22 Right to Work states. That increase is roughly 16 times as great as the 28 forced-unionism states’ combined 0.7% rise over the same period.

With Indiana, the number of electoral votes carried by Right to Work states will rise to 231. Simply by winning them, a candidate can garner 86% of the electoral votes needed to become President. Source: National Institute for Labor Relations Research.

“Indiana was one of just five states, all lacking Right to Work laws, to suffer from negative real private-sector compensation growth over the past decade. In 2010, Hoosier businesses’ real compensation expenditures were 4.0% less than they had been in 2000.

“And Indiana’s abysmal economic record can’t be explained away by uncontrollable factors, such as its Midwestern location.

“From 2000 to 2010, real private-sector employee compensation in the Midwestern Right to Work states — Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota — increased by an average of 11.5%. All five of these states enjoyed compensation growth greater than the national average.”

From the beginning of this year’s legislative session, union strategists and their puppet politicians in the Indiana capitol were well aware of the fact that they lacked sufficient votes to block Right to Work passage in either legislative chamber.

Right to Work Bill Passed House Only After Weeks of Legislative ‘Hide and Seek’

That’s why, time and again last month, Big Labor Minority Leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) directed his caucus to stay away from the House floor and thus deny the pro-Right to Work majority the quorum it needed to proceed with consideration of H.B.1001.

Consequently, it took weeks of legislative “hide and seek” before proponents of Right to Work were finally able to get the legislation to the floor and pass it this year. In 2011, Mr. Bauer and his cohorts had actually fled the state and stayed away for five weeks to preserve the forced-unionism status quo.

“What were all of Big Labor’s obstruction and vituperative personal attacks on Right to Work supporters about?” asked Mr. Mix rhetorically.

“They were simply intended to forestall a reform that will protect the individual employee’s freedom and help Indiana’s private payrolls start growing again.

“I know that Hoosier Right to Work leaders agree with me that the victory they have just achieved makes everything they have had to endure over the past nine years worthwhile.

“And this victory will have an impact extending far beyond Indiana. It will encourage freedom-loving citizens in New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania to push even harder for enactment of laws banning forced union dues and fees.”

A special report on Right to Work’s Indiana victory will be published together with this Newsletter’s next edition.