Unions and States will likely go to war over Right-to-Work Union
Republican-led states have pursued laws to make their states “Right-to-Work,” an offensive action against organized labor. They say they are trying to make the environment better for employers.
In effect, what will happen is the burden to ensure fairness to employees will actually shift to the state and federal government as workers will likely take their cases to court instead of to the arbitration board.
Expect Supreme Court battle to come
To ensure fairness in the United States, organized labor laws need to be uniform and I expect the recent efforts by states to become Right-to-Work states will push the issue upward to the Supreme Court. Congress will be forced to study the law to determine how to ensure uniformity and fairness for the American workforce.
“Indiana may soon be Rust Belt's first right-to-work state
By Mary Beth Schneider and Chris Sikich, The Indianapolis Star
A right-to-work bill became state law in Indiana on Wednesday.
Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Gayott, blue shirt center, leads union protesters on a march through the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis after the state Senate voted to pass a right-to-work bill Wednesday. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill later in the day.
The state Senate voted 28-22 to pass the labor union bill as thousands of protesters packed Statehouse hallways, shouting their disapproval. Thousands more were outside waiting to get in.
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill shortly thereafter without ceremony, making Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with such a law. Indiana also is the first state in the "Rust Belt" of the Midwest and Northeast to adopt the measure.
Under right-to-work laws, companies can no longer negotiate a contract with a union that requires non-members to pay fees for representation. The House earlier passed the measure 54-44.
Daniels and other Republican supporters characterized the measure as needed for Indiana to attract jobs.
"Indiana will improve still further its recently earned reputation as one of America's best places to do business, and we will see more jobs and opportunity for our young people and for all those looking for a better life," the governor said in a statement released by his office.
Daniels had said in 2004 as a candidate and again in 2006 as governor that he would not seek to add "right to work" to Indiana's labor laws. He said he changed his mind based on "eight years of evidence" that some companies will not locate in a state that doesn't have the law.
Democratic Sen. Tim Skinner called this part of a "union-busting" agenda from a governor who seems to be still running for president.
Indiana did adopt "right to work" in 1957 but repealed it in 1965. Opponents say it will lead to a downward spiral in wages and working conditions for all workers.
Supporters of the law, including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, say it will let workers decide for themselves whether to financially back a union and will lead to more jobs.
"This bill is all about jobs," said Republican Sen. Carlin Yoder, who was the chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate. He said unions will thrive despite it.
Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee, said: "We're hopeful that showing that this can be done in a state like Indiana is going to bring other states around."
Democrats and labor unions see it instead as a way to crush the political strength of unions.
Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, a Democrat, said the bill passed on "anecdotes and myths" of unnamed companies that wouldn't come here without the law.
"There is no empirical evidence … that right to work creates one job," Simpson said.”
More than 20 states have banned union-security agreements by passing so-called "right to work" laws. In these states, even after a majority of employees at a workplace vote in favor of a union, each employee can choose whether or not to join the union and pay dues. In such cases, all workers are protected by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union, regardless of whether or not they join the union. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.”
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