The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 is calling for Indiana Republican leaders who support right-to-work to show and prove claims that the state is missing job opportunities as a result of not having the law.
David Fagan, Merrillville-based financial secretary of the Countryside, Ill.-based, 23,000-member union local, sent a request Tuesday in response to Gov. Mitch Daniels' claims last week that "countless middle class jobs" have been lost because Indiana is not a right-to-work state.
He called for Daniels, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, to produce a list of companies that passed over the Hoosier state in the past 12 months and where they went instead. Fagan is seeking a response to the request before the end of next week.
"If the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Republican legislative leaders are so convinced that this has cost jobs, we are entitled to know what their evidence is," Fagan said. "You cannot simply make unquantifiable claims without backing them up when the stakes are this high for Indiana workers."
The union local backed Daniels during his gubernatorial bids in 2004 and 2008.
Making Indiana a right-to-work state would make it illegal to require a person to be a member of or pay dues to a labor organization as a condition of employment. Labor supporters said this bill would erode the ability of unions to operate and maintain quality conditions and wages for workers.
Indiana Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said hard numbers are difficult to provide for two reasons. She said decision-makers for businesses may not consider locating or expanding in Indiana because it isn't a right-to-work state. In a decision where multiple factors are weighed, state officials may learn in discussions that not being a right-to-work state makes Indiana less attractive.
"Based on numerous conversations with site selection consultants that the IEDC works with directly on a daily basis, we know that Indiana loses new job and investment opportunities between a quarter and a half of the time because we are not a right-to-work state," IEDC spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said.