Indiana right-to-work law: Gov. Mitch Daniels makes it done deal

Union member gather at the Indiana Capitol to protest right-to-work legislation .
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday signed a measure making his state the first in the nation’s Rust Belt to have a right-to-work law, according to state lawmakers.

The signing had been expected after the GOP-controlled Indiana Senate gave final passage to the measure, 28-22, earlier Wednesday. Republicans had pushed the bill quickly through both houses so that Daniels could sign it before this weekend’s Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis and the national media spotlight that it offered opponents.

Unionists have pledged to hold informational picketing over the next few days, Indiana AFL-CIO spokesman Jeff Harris said in a telephone interview. Daniels has warned the protesters that any disruption of the Super Bowl would be a mistake.

Union members and their allies have been protesting the expected passage for days. After the Senate action, several thousand demonstrators took to the streets in a protest march through downtown to the Convention Center.

The measure would allow workers to avoid paying dues to a union even if the workplace, private or public, is unionized.

Unions dislike such a law because, they say, it creates free riders: people who benefit from union-negotiated contracts without having to pay for the cost of bargaining or maintaining the contract. Conservatives argue that forcing someone to pay dues violates their rights.

Many Republicans, including Daniels, also contend that with a right-to-work law, businesses would find the state more attractive and would be more willing to move in, creating new jobs.

Indiana is the 23rd state in the nation to have such a law. It had a similar law from 1957 to 1965, according to the state AFL-CIO.

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Photo: Union member gather at the Indiana Capitol to protest legislation that prohibits unions from requiring workers to pay union dues. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill Wednesday. Credit: Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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