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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is dishonestly pushing a so-called 'right-to-work' law for Indiana that failed in 2011, but will likely return in 2012. For the first time, an Indiana Republican is challenging the governor's anti-union agenda. State Sen. Jim Tomes broke ranks with his party and penned a letter to the Evansville Courier & Press telling the truth about the law and the Republican agenda.
Like Republicans in other states, Daniels and his allies are lying about unions and what the law currently allows. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 already prohibits all the abuses that 'right-to-work' proponents claim to be fighting against. The reality of such laws is that they are assaults on unions and worker rights.
The letter Tomes wrote:
It is unfortunate that the upcoming Indiana legislative session is concentrating on targeting the working class, in particular those in the unionized sector.
I would have preferred to direct our efforts to accomplish goals of advancing all working families as well as small businesses and corporations.
It's my opinion that such an endeavor as that would be more beneficial for Indiana rather than seeking to single out one group at the expense of another.
There are already a great deal of statistics and data being presented in support of making Indiana a right to work state.
Some of the reports being used to support the argument for right to work were generated by the very groups pursuing this measure.
In my search, I found an unbiased report that used several models showing that right to work states have about a 6.5 percent lower wage. It also noted that the proximity of right to work states to non-right to work states enjoy somewhat of a higher wage than other right to work states.
Those workers who are members of a union are recipients of the services provided by their organizations, much like members of a country club, fraternal organization, or countless other local, state and national clubs and organizations.
Should we excuse anyone who receives services rendered from paying for that service? Should it be that if the plumber or auto mechanic that performs a duty as requested and expected be subjected to the notion that a person should opt to pay what they feel like paying or whether to pay at all?
That is the core of the right to work conflict -- to establish that a person under a union agreement can opt to pay dues or not.
For the building trades, those dues are used to maintain training centers. In those facilities, workers learn their trade; they achieve their apprenticeship, journeyman and master level in their field. It's that intense training that provides them the opportunity to excel, just like a college education provides students the opportunity to succeed.
Whether it's a labor or trade union, the individuals working in those jobs are people who want to carve out a good standard of living for themselves and their families, just like workers in all sectors of society.
Let's not seek to bring anyone down, but instead aim to move everyone up.
Jim Tomes is a Republican Indiana state senator from Wadesville.