Indiana Lawmakers Begin Right-To-Work Hearings

by Rick Howlett on July 26, 2011

An Indiana legislative study committee has begun hearings on right-to-work, one of the issues that prompted a walkout by House Democrats during the 2011 General Assembly.

A right-to-work measure supported by Republican lawmakers would prohibit making union membership or the collection of union dues a condition of employment.

Supporters say it would make Indiana more attractive to new businesses but opponents argue it would drive down wages and diminish work quality.

Ohio University Professor Richard Vetter told the panel he’s been studying the issue for decades and his research supports right-to-work.

“I’m quite confident that there’s a positive relationship between the presence of right to work laws and economic prosperity,” he said.

Former Indiana Commerce Department Director Tom McKenna argued the legislation is intended to weaken organized labor.

“Why do you want to thumb your nose at the unions? That doesn’t make sense,” he said

A right-to-work bill may be introduced in the 2012 legislative session, but Republican Governor Mitch Daniels says he’s not sure if he would support such a measure.

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