Photo: Noah Wesley (Flickr)
Hundreds of people, most of them union members, filled up the state Senate chamber Thursday. Crowding in doorways, hallways and aisles, they waited for a chance to testify before a legislative committee on the right-to-work issue.
Right-to-work legislation would prevent unions from charging dues to non-members who work in union shops. The legislature first explored the issue in February, which led, in part, to the five-week walkout by House Democrats. The opinions on either side have not changed much since then.
Cliff Kerce is a member of the carpenters union who came to the Statehouse from Leavenworth.
“Today I am here because it was brought to my attention what some politicians were trying to do to me and my family,” he says. “This so-called right-to-work law is a threat to my family’s standard of living.”
Mark Sweeney represents a South Carolina-based site selection firm, which helps companies choose where to locate or relocate their operations. Sweeney says as many as 50 percent of companies his firm deals with will not even look at a state unless it is right-to-work.
“It would be my expectation that Indiana will get more consideration from more of our clients if it is a right-to-work state,” he says.
Sweeney says that does not guarantee more companies will locate to Indiana, but that the state will not get shut out in the beginning of the process. The legislative committee will prepare a recommendation for the General Assembly before the session begins in January.