A new assault on labor unions is commencing in Indiana, with the Republican-controlled legislature setting their No. 1 2012 priority on passing right-to-work legislation that would permit workers covered under collective bargaining agreements to opt out of paying union dues.
The objective is to weaken union finances, bargaining clout and political power, says The New York Times, which reports that while right-to-work laws are on the books in 22 states in the West and the South, this would be the first right-to-work law in the East, New England and the Midwest.
If the legislation passes the Republican-controlled Indiana legislature, it is expected to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has been identified by the Economist magazine as a possible emerging candidate for U.S. president this spring.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund will be assisting other labor unions in an educational campaign among Indiana voters, similar to the efforts in Wisconsin that unseated two Republican senators in a recall and which resulted in voter ballot-box repeal of legislation in Ohio that curtailed public employee collective bargaining rights.
The New York Times says Democratic lawmakers in Indiana “have also hinted that they might once again flee to Illinois, as they did last year, to block votes on anti-union bills.”
According to The New York Times, 8.2 percent of Indiana’s private sector workers belong to unions, compared with 6.9 percent nationwide. “That is down from more than 20 percent three decades ago as many unionized factories have closed and largely nonunion industries like finance and retail have expanded,” reported the newspaper.
The New York Times cited a study that the portion of free riders in right-to-work states ranged from 9 percent in Georgia to 39 percent in South Dakota. And another study cited found that in the five years after states enacted right-to-work laws, the number of unionization drives dropped by 28 percent, and in the following five years by an added 12 percent, while organizing wins fell by 46 percent in the first five years and 30 percent the next five.
To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link: