Indiana joins Oklahoma and Idaho in the ranks of right-to-work states

Indiana today (Wednesday, February 1) became a right-to-work state when Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed H.E.A 1001.

In a signing statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Daniels said:

“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. 
“This law won’t be a magic answer but we’ll be far better off with it. 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.
“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.”

In 2001, after a debate that ran for decades, and a final referendum campaign that cost millions (most from labor unions who largely avoided reporting strictures), Oklahomans supported a right-to-work referendum.

That popular approval added to the state’s populist-oriented constitution a protection for personal rights of association, choice and liberty, denying the power of government or any group to compel a worker to join a labor union as a condition of employment.

Before Oklahoma, Idaho passed a right-to-work referendum in 1985. The trio of states are the only ones to add right-to-work protections in the modern era. 

Gov. Daniels’ signature came just hours after the law passed the state Senate, 28-22. Last month, the measure cleared the state House of Representatives. Indiana is the first “rust belt” state to enact the reform. 

Indiana had adopted right to work in 1957, but repealed that earlier provision in 1965. 

NOTE: Last month, McGuigan’s analysis of the Oklahoma Right-to-Work campaign and its lessons for Indiana was featured in The Washington Examiner and, nationwide, on the web-based news platforms of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.