by Clyde Weiss | February 01, 2012
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has just signed legislation that will make his state the first in years to enact right-to-work-for-less legislation. It’s a shame he didn’t consider the views of those who will be impacted by the legislation.
Take William Tandy, for instance. A Richmond Street Department employee and member of Local 1791 (AFSCME Council 62), he was demonstrating at the statehouse “to support our local and our elected representatives who have fought for Indiana’s workers. I want to look back on this fight and know that I was here and I helped fight this until the end.”
If the right-to-work-for-less bill becomes law, Tandy says, “training will suffer and safety will become more of an issue. It might take a while for businesses to notice, but this will cost them more in the long run. Equipment will get torn up, more people will get hurt.”
Jamin Isaac Green
For Richmond Sanitation Department worker Jamin Isaac Green – also a member of Local 1791 – this fight for worker rights is his first as a union member. “I’ve been here for six months,” he says. “The guys at work have taught me that it’s important that blue-collar workers like us have a voice. We need to stay together so we’re not being taken advantage of by a company owner or our city.”
Green says it’s not fair “that right-to-work is being pushed by these legislators. They didn’t run on this issue when they took back the majority in 2010. Nobody should be able to benefit off another, and that’s what this law allows. We’re going to keep on fighting.”
Scott Lotich, an equipment operator for the Richmond Street Department and a member of Local 1791, says, “This right-to-work attack is just the next step in the anti-worker attack against unions that began in the 1980s. This should be called the ‘right-to-sponge.’ It makes unions represent every worker even though they’re not required to pay anything for that representation.”
Lotich adds, “This fight is not over. If we have to, we’ll fight it at the ballot box in November.”
Right-to-work-for-less laws are bad for everyone. They lower wages. They endanger health and safety standards. They hurt pensions. And they are just plain unfair for union members.