Two years after Indiana became a right-to-work state, the membership decline unions feared hasn‘t happened.
Unionization slipped from one in nine Hoosier workers in 2011 to one out of 11 in 2012, when right-to-work took effect. But union membership had been sliding for years before that, and in the first full year of right-to-work, membership actually rebounded by two-tenths of a percent.
During debate over the law, unions predicted their membership would decline while the number of “free riders” — workers enjoying the benefits of collective bargaining without paying dues — would rise.
Indiana AFLCIO president Brett Voorhies credits unions’ efforts to serve their members with averting those outcomes.
“In certain areas maybe right-to-work has affected some of our facilities but definitely not in a way that was predicted,” says Voorhies.
The US Department of Labor says about 10-percent of Hoosier workers represented by unions are nonmembers. That‘s the highest figure in three years.
The department says Indiana unions added about 3,000 members in 2013, and the same number of nonmembers working in union shops.
Voorhies says the organization hasn‘t changed its view that the law was a bad one.
On Wednesday, a Lake County judge became the second to rule the law unconstitutional. The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in September.