Lawmakers Heaton & Waterman React To Wednesday’s Passage Of ‘Right-To-Work’
New Law Prohibits A Worker’s Requirement To Pay For Union Dues (Clarification: "Pay for Representation fees - Not dues")
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer - Spencer Evening World
Indiana District 39 State Senator John Waterman (left) and Indiana District 46 State Representative Bob Heaton speak during the recent Owen County Legislative Breakfast. While both are Republicans in separate chambers, they have differing views of Wednesday’s passage of right-to-work legislation in Indiana. (SEW File Photo)
Indiana became the 23rd state to pass anti-union “right-to-work” legislation on Wednesday and the first in the nation’s manufacturing heartland, dealing what protestors say is a blow to organized labor by allowing workers to opt out of paying union dues.
Indiana’s Republican governor Mitch Daniels signed the legislation into law immediately after it was given final approval in the state Senate, making Indiana the first state to adopt such a measure since Oklahoma did so a decade ago.
The Indiana state Senate vote of 28 to 22 was followed by reported calls of “shame, shame” from members of the public outside the chamber. Opponents of right-towork call it “union busting” and say it will lower the wages of workers.
Returning from Indianapolis, Owen County lawmakers in the two chambers had differing opinions on the legislation, despite coming from the same side of the political aisle.
Among the Republicans in favor of the measure, Indiana District 46 State Representative Bob Heaton (Terre Haute) believes out of work Hoosiers will see an improvement in job opportunities in the future.
“I think it’s still going to be a great economic boom for Indiana. I’m hearing about companies looking at Indiana as a right-to-work state,” Heaton told the Spencer Evening World on Thursday. “Only time will tell, but I think it’s a really good thing for Indiana. As of now, it is the law, now we can just move forward.”
Of the nine Republicans voting against the measure in the Senate, District 39 State Senator John Waterman (R-Shelburn) was pessimistic of the state’s future in job growth with the new law in place.
“My concern is they come into the state with millions of dollars in campaigning during session and that’s never happened in the 16 years I’ve been in, attacking legislators like they did,” Waterman said. “It’s just another mechanism that’s going in place, ran outside the State of Indiana, funding big politicians who dance to their tune. I wish that we didn’t go down that path, but the leadership decided that’s what they wanted. The Governor sent a letter to the unions saying he wouldn’t support right-to-work, then they gave him several hundred thousand dollars for his last election. Now he’s looking at the national picture as a vice presidential candidate or one of the appointments, so I believe his focus is getting money for his next venture and using the State of Indiana to do it. That’s not right.”
Waterman also worries about funding for Indiana’s trade schools, which have previously been funded through union dues.
“Our trade schools are the top in the nation; pipe fitters and iron workers, those are paid from union dues, not the state,” he said. “They’ve been pushing for several years now to partner with Ivy Tech and others, which is also tax dollars. I just don’t think that’s the way to go; the way our system is set up is one of the best in the nation, I’d like to leave them the way they are. I’ve been on the ground working in right-to-work states and the quality of workmanship is just not what it is here. I’ve always been proud about Indiana, the skill trades here are far better than any place I’ve ever been.”
Waterman recalled an instance in 1995 when 25,000 people crowded the Indiana Statehouse over lawmaker’s efforts to repeal Indiana’s Prevailing Wage Law.
“Last year was the first time Medicaid expenses surpassed edu- cation. This is going to throw more and more benefits out the window and put more people on state aid. That will raise taxes and force wages down while most people are living check to check,” he said. “At one factory in Terre Haute, wages went from 20 to 14 dollars an hour, so it’s all hitting hard and it’s just going to get worse. Most people’s expenses are based on their income level; there will be a lot of problems compounded as this thing rolls out.”
After his signing of the bill into law, effective July 1, 2012, Governor Daniels noted, “Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered.”
The governor said that while the law is no magic answer to unemployment in the state, he believes Hoosiers will be better off with it in place.
“I respect those who have objected but they have alarmed themselves unnecessarily: no one’s wages will go down, no one’s benefits will be reduced, and the right to organize and bargain collectively is untouched and intact,” Daniels added. “The only change will be a positive one. 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.”
At the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, President Kevin Brinegar said that the passage of House Bill 1001 has further distinguished Indiana from neighboring states, giving companies another reason to bring businesses and jobs to the Hoosier State.
“This is the latest in a long line of actions to help make Indiana one of the most attractive climates for business relocations and expansions,” he said. “Hoosier workers also will have the choice now of whether or not to join a union. (False: Federal Court decision already ruled workers cannot be "forced" to join a union) People in Indiana and across the country recognize the critical importance of such a freedom of choice. Other state legislatures are seeing the value in trying to provide those choices and opportunities for individuals and companies.”
Listen to the RTW discussion on NPR’s WFIU Noon Edition with Todd Thacker – International Brotherhood of Electric Workers 725 Terre Haute; Kenneth Dau-Schmidt – IU Maurer School of Law Professor, Specializing in Labor and Employment Law; Chris Schrader - Director of Government Affairs for Indiana State Council of Society of Human Resource Management
Indiana "Right to Work" Educational video clips. Indiana Right to Wreck or misnamed Forced Unionism. It's not about economic development, it's about destroying the voice of working families and increasing corporate influence in the political arena.
HAMMOND, INDIANA - Today, representatives of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against Governor Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Gregory Zoeller, and Department of Labor Director Lori Torres. The suit claims that Indiana’s recently passed “right to work” (RTW) statute violates both state and federal law, and seeks nullification of the statute.
Named as plaintiffs are two elected officers of Local 150, along with four rank-and-file members and the organization itself. The ten counts filed against Indiana leaders include apparent violations of the United States Constitution and the Indiana Constitution, as well as conflicts with the National Labor Relations Act.
Local 150 will seek a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the law, claiming that glaring violations and contradictions of existing law are likely the result of the often cited rush to pass the legislation as quickly as possible.
Among the suit’s claims are the following:
• RTW violates the “Contracts Clause” of the U.S. Constitution’s Article 1 in that it substantially impairs contractual relationships by forbidding longstanding union security clauses and payment of fees in exchange for representation.
• RTW violates the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s “Equal Protection” clause by treating similar classes of workers differently.
o By allowing workers to opt out of paying dues, dues paying members would bear the entire cost of providing representation, and a smaller amount of their payment would be available for use representing them.
o By forbidding public works employees from opting out of membership or payment of dues or fees, the State of Indiana requires those workers to bear an increased burden of paying for services rendered to workers given the option not to pay dues or fees.
o By allowing Local 150 to charge fees to construction workers but not workers in other industries, the State of Indiana fails to provide equal protection.
• RTW violates Article 1, Section 21 of Indiana’s Constitution, which states that “no person’s particular services shall be taken by law without just compensation.” By forcing unions to provide equal representation, as required under the National Labor Relations Act, to workers who pay nothing, the state is demanding services which constitute a property interest to the union’s members.
• RTW is pre-empted by federal labor law insofar as federal law allows unions to collect fees and that activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act is criminalized under RTW.
• RTW violates state and federal ex post facto laws by declaring agreements in place on the day RTW was signed illegal and criminally punishable.
In several counts, Local 150 requests that applicable sections be invalidated, and because the statute was passed without a “severability clause”, if any part is ruled invalid, the entire law may be invalidated.
Local 150 president-business manager James M. Sweeney made the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“Indiana legislators picked a fight with the middle class when they introduced this law, and when workers are attacked, we fight back. Aside from being intrusive government and bad public policy, this so-called ‘right to work’ legislation repeatedly violates two constitutions and nearly a century of federal labor law. It discriminates among groups of workers and mandates private businesses to provide service without compensation.
This law is an example of government gone wrong, and I am confident that the United States District Court will find merit in our complaint.”
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 represents more than 23,000 working men and women (including approximately 4,000 in Indiana) working in the construction, road building, excavation, public works, drilling, concrete pumping, material testing, mining, landscaping and various other industries. Local 150’s Indiana offices are located in Merrillville and Lakeville, Indiana.
Source: International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150
As we all know, Governor Daniels and Republicans in control of the Statehouse pulled out all the stops to ram the overwhelmingly unpopular “right to work” bill down our throats in the last legislaitve session. They tried to block us from getting into the Statehouse, prevented us from testifying at committee hearings and made up statistics and stories to support their false claims.
Now, they’ve been caught in another lie.
This afternoon the Associated Press published this article and it speaks for itself…
Company denies right-to-work reason for expansion
3/15/2012 By Tom Lobianco, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana company cited as an example of a business expanding because of the state’s new right-to-work law says the labor legislation wasn’t a factor in its decision.
Gov. Mitch Daniels says more than 30 companies have inquired about moving to Indiana since he signed the law making Indiana the 23rd state to ban unions from collecting mandatory fees for representation. The only company he has named publicly is MBC Group.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation issued a statement in which company president Eric Holloway said expanding its Brookville, Ind., site was a “no-brainer” because of right-to-work and other factors.
Holloway says he did not notice the reference to right to work when he approved the statement and says the law had no effect on his decision to expand.
While it’s not shocking, it’s disappointing that our officials would stoop to this level in order to deceive the public which they are supposed to represent. It’s equally disgusting that the administration is clearly pressuring businesses that are applicants for or recipients of state economic development incentives into furthering this deception.
This should cast doubt on any future claim made about this legislation’s economic impact.