Indiana’s Anti-union Law

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Although it has not been signed into law (it has not even been passed), the chances are high that the Right to Work Act before the Indiana State Assembly will be passed and signed by Indiana Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. I say this with certainty because the Republicans hold the majority in the state legislature and the governor is a very conservative Republican. The Right to Work Act would eliminate the requirement that all workers in a unionized business not be required to pay union dues if they are not in the union. While this may sound acceptable, there is more to this legislation than a simple provision trying to “equalize” the workplace. Those who argue for this legislation to be passed basically state that no worker should be forced to join a union, and therefore not be forced to pay union dues when they are not in the union in a unionized workplace. Further, those who argue for this Right to Work Act believe that employers should not be “forced” into agreements with unions that require all employees to pay union dues.

Those who are opposed to this legislation see it another way. Those opposed make it clear that when a union does anything from collective bargaining to going on strike, it does so for all the workers , and this includes those workers who have not joined a union. Because all workers receive the same benefits and better pay from work because of the union’s efforts, the least they can do is provide union dues. Also, those opposed to this legislation point out that states which have passed right to work laws have not seen any growth in jobs or economic output. In fact, according to a study put out by the AFL-CIO, workers where right to work laws govern have seen their annual pay cut by $5,311 and their workplace conditions worsen. This means that such state laws have weakened the gains made by unions and have led to workers suffering from not only taking home less pay but even becoming the victims of more accidents at the workplace. If anything, right to work laws heavily favor business—most certainly corporate business (doesn’t do small businesses any good).

In many ways this argument seems to be becoming a moot point. The Republicans have more than enough votes to force this legislation through and it will only be a matter of time before the governor signs it. The Democrats, who are boycotting the legislature over this right to work non-sense, are only stalling. This stalling will not work. But one has to wonder why the Republicans seem to be becoming more anti-union and anti-minority. If you think about it, unions in Indiana have many members who are African American and Latino. This attack on the unions in Indiana is also an attack on African American and Latino workers as well as all workers. What is becoming scary is that Republicans, in the presidential race as well as in those states they control, are taking on very strident ant-Latino, anti-union, anti-immigration, and anti-poor tones in not only their rhetoric but also their legislation. It is almost as if the party is pushing, or being pushed, into fascism. Where are the moderate Republicans? Why are the ultra-conservatives and religious right the ones we seem to be hearing the most from? None of this bodes well for the average working American or the nation as a whole.

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