Pols supporting RTW will pay, labor leader says

2012-01-31T21:30:00Z 2012-02-22T15:16:04Z Pols supporting RTW will pay, labor leader saysBy Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

HIGHLAND | AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he has seen the front lines of Indiana's fight against right-to-work since 1995.

Trumka made a speech that year at the Statehouse against that measure and also one that would have changed prevailing wage rules.

In a return to Indiana, Trumka said Tuesday labor groups and Democratic legislators "ought to be proud" of their attempts to derail right-to-work legislation. He also said Republican leaders and bill supporters in the state should expect heavy campaigning against them in upcoming elections.

"They will pay a price at the polls," Trumka said.

Trumka was the keynote speaker at the 37th annual Community Labor Awards Reception. The Indiana Federation of Labor, an affiliate of the national AFL-CIO, hosted more than 200 union members and labor supporters at Wicker Memorial Park.

The Indiana Senate is expected to vote Wednesday to enact a bill to make the Hoosier State the nation's 23rd right-to-work state. In light of that, Trumka and other speakers including U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, told the audience Tuesday that a right-to-work law would not improve the income gap. They said it would harm unions, institutions that have worked to establish a living wage for workers.

Trumka also said cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations isn't the way to economic prosperity. He said prosperity lies with workers because consumer spending is so critical to the U.S. economy. He, among many speakers Tuesday, said right-to-work, or "the right-to-work for less," would serve to take money out of their pockets.

"America isn't broke, but something surely is broken in America," Trumka said.

Trumka criticized Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and said the change in his right-to-work position may be the result of having presidential aspirations.

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