Indiana News

Governor Not Weighing in Yet on Right to Work Bill

Daniels says state shut out from some projects, but "still looking" at law

11/21/2011

Governor Daniels isn't throwing his weight behind a right-to-work bill just yet.

In the last legislative session, Daniels urged fellow Republicans not to push a right-to-work bill. He argued the ban on requiring workers to pay at least a portion of union dues hadn't been discussed at the statehouse or on the campaign trail, and warned it could derail his top priorities: a package of education reforms.

Legislators went ahead anyway, but dropped it when Democrats bolted the state in protest.

This time, the issue has been reviewed. A study committee held hearings throughout the summer, then released a report recommending passage. Daniels says he agrees the law would make it easier to attract jobs.

"(If) you read that report, it certainly confirms something we've known: that it does cost us shots at job opportunities," Daniels says. "I happen to not agree with their logic, but a lot of companies simply won't look at us for that reason."

But the governor says he's "still looking" at whether to formally endorse the legislation.

Daniels addressed the issue earlier this month, before legislative leaders' Monday announcement they'd make right-to-work their top priority. Daniels is attending a pair of events in Terre Haute, and his office said there will be no immediate comment beyond what he's already said.

Unions argue right-to-work would cut wages, not create jobs. They point to Ohio voters' rejection of collective bargaining restrictions earlier this month as a warning to legislators they risk being punished at the polls if they take on organized labor.

Republicans hold a walkout-proof majority in the Senate. The more critical test will come in the House. Democrats were fined about 31-hundred dollars each for last session's five-week strike, and a new law threatens a fresh round of fines for future walkouts.

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