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Unions: Right to Work a Threat

Employees of some Monroe County food service unions say they’re keeping an eye on the state’s “Right to Work” discussion, even though legislation on the topic has stopped. Earlier this legislative session, republicans in the Indiana General Assembly proposed a Right to Work bill, aimed at curtailing union collective bargaining.

Following a walkout by House Democrats, GOP members have declared the bill dead, even though its language could be amended into other bills at later committee hearings. Marla Crittenden, Kroger Meat Clerk said, “I’m definitely against the Right to Work bill, it’s going to affect all of us down the road.”

A few Monroe County union members said if that happens, they’ll be negatively impacted. Dan Nicholson, Kroger Meat Manager said, “Around contract time we need to be able to bargain with our company through negotiations for fair wages and benefits, and as long as our union is strong we can do that.”

“If they pass the Right to Work bill, down the road it’s going to affect our pensions, our health and welfare, eventually the Union’s going to be weakened by it and it will become a minimum wage job,” said Crittenden.

A Right to Work statute would bar unions from charging some dues, especially to non-members. Indiana University Professor of Public Service Lisa Bingham said that could affect wages. Lisa Blomgren Bingham, Indiana University Professor of Public Service at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs said, “In a non-union work place an employee ordinarily if they don’t have a contract their employees at will can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.” Bingham further added, “A Right to Work statute keeps the unions from recovering its costs in the contract as a condition of employment.”

Both Crittenden and Nicholson concur that right-to-work would make unions weaker and make our bargaining power much weaker and would actually lower wages and benefits.

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