Communities like Roanoke and Marion with GM along with Dana in Marion and Fort Wayne depend on the wages that these companies bring to the community in spending. The local unions (UAW and AIW) for these plants have controlled the company purse strings through union contracts. But that may end in the next year.
The Indiana Legislature is reviving a bill that dates back to the 1970’s titled the Right to Work Act. This would eliminate the practice of charging non-union workers in a union plant. It was brought up before Governor Daniel’s once before and his response was that 2011 wasn’t the right time. So, the elected in Indianapolis brought it up again.
With Governor Daniels’ twilight year coming in 2012, he thought it would be a good idea. Commerce Secretary Robb started the promotion of the idea. He said that Indiana should be the 23rd state to stop companies and unions charging the non-union employees. Robb, who also heads the Indiana Economic Development Corp, said that passing the law would make Indiana more attractive to outside employers looking to create jobs.
Daniels said that after hearing the evidence, he would then make his decision on support or veto. This idea is better than the last presentation that caused Democrats to walk out for five weeks in protest.
Dozens of people turned up at the hearings, fearing that the passing of the bill would drop wages in the long run. Wage earners and unions worried about the loss of wages, while local business owners throughout the state worried about the loss in revenue.
Robb and other business representatives believe that the passing of the bill will aid in the formation of jobs in an employment weary time. Professor Richard Vedder, who was hired by the Chamber of Commerce, found through a study that income and job growth are higher in right to work states. He also commented that if the bill had been signed in the 1970’s, wages would be approximately $3,000 higher per capita.
On the flip side, University of Oregon Professor, Gordon Lafer said that the study he did found that wages and benefits were lower in right to work states. This was seconded by Notre Dame Professor Wolfson. Lafer went on to say that four of the five strongest growing states are have no such law as that being proposed.