The New York Times has taken note of the "gathering storm" over the coming right-to-work legislation in the General Assembly:
Right-to-work is also a potent political symbol that carries serious financial consequences for unions. Corporations view such laws as an important sign that a state has policies friendly to business. Labor leaders say that allowing workers to opt out of paying any money to the union that represents them weakens unions' finances, bargaining clout and political power.
Organized labor has vowed to fight the Indiana bill, which it says would turn the state into the “Mississippi of the Midwest.” If the legislation passes, Indiana would become the first state to have such a law within the traditional manufacturing belt, a union stronghold that stretches from the Midwest to New England. Right-to-work laws exist in 22 states, almost all in the South and West, with Oklahoma the most recent to pass one, in 2001.
Right-to-work supporters say they can win quick passage because Indiana's Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, backs the bill and Republicans have large majorities in the House and Senate.
The argument for right-to-work is that it attracts more businesses and thus more jobs to the state. The counter-argument is that wages and benefits tend to be lower in right-to-work states. If both arguments are true -- and I suspect they are -- that gives us a productive debate. Is it better to have more but lower paying jobs or fewe