GUEST COMMENTARY: Labor takes aim at right to work law

2014-06-24T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Labor takes aim at right to work lawBy Mark Mix nwitimes.com
June 24, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Two years ago this February, Indiana legislators passed a measure prohibiting compulsory union dues and fees. Ever since then, good economic news for Hoosiers has been rolling in.

Take, for example, the latest U.S. Labor Department report on employment and unemployment at the state level, issued last month. In April, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana’s jobless rate shrank to 5.7 percent, a decline of 0.2 percentage points from March.

From April 2013 through this April, unemployment in Indiana plummeted by 2.1 percentage points.

In many states, recent unemployment rate declines have been due largely to jobless workers moving out of state or dropping out of the labor force. For example, a total of 14,000 people dropped out of forced-unionism Ohio’s labor force in April, and that fact alone explains more than half of the Buckeye State’s decline in joblessness for the month. But Indiana’s labor force expanded by 11,700 in April, and this was the seventh straight month of growth. 

The positive news since Indiana became the 23rd right to work state in February 2012 shouldn’t be surprising. As Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan-Flint and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., recently pointed out, “economic performance when measured by job growth, unemployment rates, income growth, or new business creation is generally higher in right-to-work states than in forced unionism states.”

In light of the ample evidence that Indiana’s two-year-old right to work law has been economically beneficial and strong, persistent public opposition, reflected in poll after poll, to compulsory unionism, one might expect state politicians who once opposed the statute would at least grudgingly accept it now.

But that’s far from true. On May 31, Big Labor militants who have long exercised extraordinary influence over Democrat politicians in Indiana resoundingly adopted at the state party’s 2014 convention in Indianapolis a platform explicitly calling for right to work repeal.

The fact is, the vast majority of Democrat politicians and a very large portion of all elected officials and other candidates in Indiana either depend on monopolistic union bosses’ political machine to get elected and reelected, or are so intimidated by this machine that they offer little resistance to Big Labor’s legislative agenda.

Consequently, the Hoosier right to work law could face relentless attacks both before and after this fall’s elections.

The tens of thousands of citizen activists who labored for years to make Indiana a right to work state need to pressure candidates for the state Senate and House to pledge 100 percent opposition to compulsory unionism.

Mark Mix is president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The opinions are the writer's.

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