Indiana Machinists Fight Right to Work

With the Indiana governor’s mansion and both houses of the state’s legislature now controlled by business-friendly Republicans, it’s no surprise that a push is on to make Indiana the first state in years to pass Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation.

At the most recent meeting of the Indiana State Council of Machinists, a cadre of IAM national leaders called for an all out effort to oppose the growing push for RTW legislation in the Hoosier state.

“The work must begin at the local level,” said Diane Babineaux, Chief of Staff to the International President, who reminded state council delegates that the first RTW bill began as an initiative petition. “We need to educate local politicians and our own members about what’s at stake. The amount of misinformation about unions and union benefits during RTW campaigns is remarkable.”

Corporate lobbyists often promote RTW states as more attractive to new business, but they fail to note that workers in RTW states earn an average of $5,538 less per year, plus they are less likely to have benefits.

“Every state that promotes RTW is banking on economic development that would lower the standard of living for workers, their families and their communities,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart. “The way out of this recession is not to increase corporate profits at the expense of working people, but to steadily improve the buying power of the American middle class.”

Midwest Territory GVP Phil Gruber also spoke at the state council meeting, calling the RTW fight a “war of ideas” and providing historical context for the current RTW battle. “ Indiana was one of the first states to pass RTW in 1962, only to repeal it several years later under pressure from churches and the legislature.”

Following the Indiana State Council meeting, delegates moved to the state house in Indianapolis, where they lobbied their representatives face-to-face about the deep and lasting damage caused by RTW laws in other states.

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