Right-to-Work Will Continue to Benefit Indiana’s Economy
Update: Research and Legislative Analyst Ben Wilterdink recently appeared on the Tony Katz Radio Show to discuss this topic. Listen to his interview below,
Last Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s right-to-work law. The constitutionality of the law, which allows employees to choose whether or not to financially support a union, was challenged by Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO. The appellees claim the law is unconstitutional under the Indiana Constitution because it demands particular services from the union without compensation.
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that Indiana’s right-to-work law does not violate the state constitution. The ruling is a victory for workers across Indiana because it will preserve their right to choose whether or not to join a union by preventing employers from requiring union dues payment as a condition of employment. As state legislators face difficult questions about how to make their state more economically competitive, they should consider allowing employees to choose whether or not to financially support a union.
Between 2002 and 2012, right-to-work states saw 11.9 percent growth in the number of private sector jobs while forced unionism states saw -2.3% growth in the number of private sector jobs. Right-to-work policies attract new businesses to a state as companies look to start, relocate or expand there. During a Missouri Senate hearing on the issue, a site selection consultant stated that 75 percent of the manufacturers he works with prefer to locate in a state with right-to-work laws, and half his clients refuse to consider future locations in states that force their workers to financially support unions.
Not only has right-to-work policy recently held up under legal scrutiny, it has withstood political scrutiny as well. In Indiana and Michigan, the latest two states to pass right-to-work legislation, it seems the issue did not follow voters into the voting booth in the negative way predicted by organized labor during legislative debate. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder won handily and state legislators who voted to support the legislation fared very well. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, who came under severe pressure from organized labor when he signed collective bargaining reform into law in 2011, won his third election in four years.
Policymakers considering reform to restore worker freedom and strengthen their state’s economy can be confident moving forward with bold action. In 2012, Indiana and Michigan brought the number of states with right-to-work laws to 24. 2015 is the time for the remaining 26 states to consider right-to-work to increase economic prosperity and worker freedom within their state.