The House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Indiana General Assembly has voted 8-5 along party lines to support a so-called right-to-work bill.
Supporters contend it would remove an impediment to additional economic development, investment and jobs.
Hundreds of union members from across the state gathered at the Statehouse in opposition to the legislation that would prohibit union membership as a condition of employment. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar explains why he thinks the bill is important for the state’s economy.
Currently 22 states have right-to-work laws, most in the southern and western United States.
A recent study, Commissioned by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce projects that a right-to-work law in Indiana would generate an additional $6 billion in personal income in Indiana.
During the committee hearing this morning AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott testified that is states with right-to-work laws, average wages are lower and workplace safety suffers.
According to the bill, introduced by Rep. Jerry Torr, a Republican who represents an area north of Indianapolis, Right-to-Work legislation would make it a Class A misdemeanor for employers to require their employees to be a member of the union, pay union dues, or pay fees to a third party organization, such as a charity, that are a part of the union fees. The provisions of the bill exclude construction workers or those included in the national Railway Labor Act.
“Right-to-Work simply provides workers with a choice of whether they want to be a part of the union,” said Rep. Torr. “There is no provision that limits their collective bargaining rights.
“Statistics and several academic studies have demonstrated that Right-to-Work states experience more economic development and increased quality of life than those without such legislation,” said Rep. Torr.
Rep. Torr serves District 39 which includes Carmel, Fishers, and Westfield. For the 2011 legislative session, Rep. Torr is the assistant majority floor leader and serves on the Labor and Employment Committee, Insurance Committee, and the Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.