Indiana’s Republican Governor Mitch Daniels says that a top priority for the upcoming 2012 legislative session will be a right-to-work bill that would cripple unions and lower wages by making dues voluntary. “When Indiana gets a chance to compete for new business, we win two-thirds of the time,” Daniels told a South Bend reporter. “Unfortunately a quarter to half the time, we don’t get to the table because business is only interested in a state with this protection. We just need to have those shots on goal because we know we’ll capture more than our fair share if we do.”
The facts are not on his side. Right-to-work states like South Carolina have a considerably higher unemployment rate than Indiana (10.5% vs. 9%) and their workers have lower wages. Daniels should get his talking points straight before he makes false and misleading claims about the jobs situation in Indiana. Unions are not the problem, Indiana Republicans’ willingness to sacrifice wages and workplace safety is the problem.
Daniels goes on to claim that, “I’d be completely opposed to this if it affected the right to organize. But every right-to-work state has unions and some of them have a higher percentage of union members than Indiana does. I’d be completely against anything that reduced the right to organize. This is only about whether you have to pay the dues or don’t.”
I’ll give the governor credit, he knows how to weasel out of his positions – at least rhetorically – even while still maintaining them. The bill has nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with killing unions. Right-to-work is a way to drain a union’s resources. If you can benefit from a union and not have to pay for it then who would offer up their dues? It’s called free-riding. For a party that would love to see all resistance to corporate power crushed, right-to-work makes a good deal of sense.