Comments from Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar on the announcement today by House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long that right-to-work legislation will take priority in the 2012 session:
“Passing a right-to-work law is the single most important action our lawmakers can take to put more Hoosiers back to work. Currently, we have more than 200,000 people unemployed in Indiana and many more at risk as employers deal with a still unstable economy. A right-to-work law would open the door to attracting new and expanding companies and the numerous jobs they bring.
“Site selection experts from across the country will tell anyone who will listen that between one third and nearly half of the companies that hire them to find a good location won’t even consider non right-to-work states for their business growth and expansion plans. So Indiana is automatically out of the running in far too many instances.
“Other Midwestern states such a Michigan and Kentucky are now looking at passing right-to-work to gain a dramatic competitive advantage for jobs. We cannot afford to fall behind the competition.
“Right-to-work is about creating jobs, economic growth and fairness. Arguments to the contrary are smoke and mirrors. Right-to-work laws do not prohibit labor unions or collective bargaining, but simply protect workers from being forced to join or pay dues and fees to a labor union. Workers would still have the right to join or support a labor union, only now it would be his or her decision to make. That’s simply fair.
“Case in point, right-to-work legislation was passed more than 15 years ago for Hoosier teachers. It certainly didn’t destroy their unions or collective bargaining rights, and it didn’t result in lower wages for teachers.
“Going forward, the Indiana Chamber will work to help citizens and lawmakers realize that a vote for right-to-work is a vote for job creation and worker freedom. A person shouldn’t have to be forced to join a union in order to get or keep a job. Today was an important step and I applaud legislative leadership for displaying determination with this issue.”