Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

September 11, 2013

Right-to-work unnecessary

It has been a crime for Indiana employers to enter into labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues since Feb. 1, 2012 — the day then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation making the Hoosier State a “right-to-work” state.

Right-to-work remains in effect, even after a judge ruled Thursday it violates a provision in the state constitution barring delivery of services “without just compensation,” The Associated Press reported.

Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia said right-to-work wrongly requires unions to represent workers who do not pay dues, the AP reported, but allowed such arrangements to continue while an appeal to the state Supreme Court is readied.

After two years of Statehouse debate, after on-again-off-again walkouts by House Democrats that delayed adoption of right-to-work, the conflict continues.

And it’s so unnecessary.

Daniels and the GOP sold right-to-work as a jobs bill. The jobs have yet to come, and Hoosier incomes continue to fall.

Indiana’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in July, compared to a national average of 7.4 percent, the state Department of Workforce Development reported last month. A recent Ball State University study found Indiana’s per capita income plummeted from 30th in the U.S. to 40th overall and lowest in the Midwest.

In fact, wages in Miami County, Ball State researchers found, remain at a level the average American hasn’t seen since the 1970s.

In television ads ahead of legislative votes on right-to-work, Daniels told Hoosiers the state was “cut out of a third of all [employment] deals because we don’t provide workers the protection known as right-to-work.” He said the previous 22 states with right-to-work legislation were “adding jobs and income a lot faster than those that don’t.”

Hoosiers still await those jobs and higher incomes. And by now, they likely have guessed the legislation’s true and perhaps only purpose.

Indiana’s right-to-work law is nothing more than Republican retribution for labor’s financial and electoral support of Democrats.

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