Indiana Democrats fought it for weeks by not showing up for sessions, but eventually the Repblican-led House of Representatives was able to pass a measure to make Indiana a Right-to-Work state. That bill will go to the State Senate where the Republicans have an even larger majority, and observers expect it to be signed into law by governor Mitch Daniels before the Super Bowl takes place in Indianapolis on February 5.

Assuming nothing stops that from happening, Indiana becomes state number 23 among the nation's Right-to-Work faction, but the first in the upper Midwest, known so well for its wide and heavily unionized manufacturing base that it's called The Rust Belt. According to a report in Automotive News, Governor Daniels points to VW's decision to build its plant in Tennessee as the reason for the legislation. In fact, he said Volkswagen wouldn't even return phone calls. "Why would that one company not even talk to us? I think I know."

Indiana's strong union presence didn't stop other manufacturers from setting up plants or maintaining plants there, such as Honda, Subaru and General Motors. But it appears Daniels took the VW snub especially hard and wants to sure that, if the threat of unionization really was the problem in that case, that it is never a problem again.


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  • 130 Comments
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Didn't Honda just open a new plant there last year? Near Greenberg if I recall correctly.
        JN
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        Indeed they did ... plus IN also has Toyota (the auto plant in Princeton and I believe a forklift plant near Columbus) and Subaru. RTW wasn't necessary to draw those investments from overseas in, nor is it necessary now. History will repeat itself, mark my words: Indiana Republicans passed RTW in '57, lost their majority, and RTW was stricken from the books by '65. They've set themselves up for a BIG fall, hopefully as soon as this November.
      Greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I believe right-to-work is the right way of doing things. It doesn't mean there can't or won't be unions, but rather that workers have the freedom to choose whether to be a part of it. This is good because: - IMO, it is morally wrong to force a person to join an organization if he doesn't want to. - Unions can't sit back like fat cats--if they don't live up to their promises, workers will drop them. Because of the history of unions in that part of the country, I don't expect a whole lot to change soon. Union membership will only drop a bit, and there won't be massive rates of shops de-unionizing. But there will be more options for new companies moving forward, and in my experience, that's a good thing.
      Adam
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who is from Indiana I am torn on this. On one hand I think it is wrong that to work for company x then you must be a member of the union. On the other hand I don't think it is right that the unions still have to represent and in a sense work for the non union members. Unions have their place. There is no doubt about that. They have brought a lot of great norms to the workplace. My question is what have they done lately? I fear that they are so big now that they really don't represent the interest of the employees. The company cares about themselves, the union cares about themselves, and the workers care about themselves but are left with little they can do. Now you have companies in a variety of industries making a strong effort to be an attractive place to work. People say that unemployment is higher and wages are lower in Right to Work States. It may be true but I question if you can link unemployment and wages back to being a Right to Work State. I am not saying for sure that they don't but I do think you have to do a pretty in depth study since there are so many factors and causes that go into unemployment and wages. Another thing to consider about wages in Right to Work States vs non Right to Work States is that the Right to Work States are not all paying union dues. Now I don't know how much of a difference there is in pay and benefits and how much the dues are but I am saying that you have to consider that. I think union membership accounts for around 20% of Indiana's workforce. How much this impacts current union members IDK. Good or bad this is going to bring change to the workforce in Indiana.
        BB79826
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Adam
        I think people make a huge mistake by comparing something as bloated as the UAW with the thousands of other unions in the U.S.. And yes, Indiana already has tons of non-union manufacturing car factories, so I don't see why this would have been VW's primary concern.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Finally.
      recharged95
      • 2 Years Ago
      ""Why would that one company not even talk to us? " Cause they didn't get want they want. DUH. You think a girl friend that dumped you welcomes your follow on calls? CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE TOO.
      Gabbo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bottom line is that Unions produce little value for the companies they work for, nor for the buyers of the products they produce. Unions are simply there to maximize the amount of value they can EXTRACT from the companies - once the host dies, the union parasites move on to find another host.
        Zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gabbo
        They produce lots of value for the workers and families of those workers who can then have health insurance, and may buy a house, and send their kids to college. Shucks.
          kevsflanagan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          I'll counter Zoom. How come non-Unionized Plants in the US have health insurance and still make great pay? See thats the problem with people that are all Pro-Union they forget that Unions were first created for two reasons. 1) To ensure safety for their Workers and 2) Fair pay. Our own government now has in place agencies to ensure workers are safe and anyone can report problems to them. Oh and there are also laws on the books to protect said person from being fired during or after a report is made. As to Fair Pay well thats up for debate. I still can't wrap my head around someone making $20hr for simply bringing a 5 lug air gun over some tires and pressing a button repeadily all day long. And as for "Profit sharing" to me I'm still dumb founded by it. I used to work in retail managing a photo lab. The first year there I improved operational costs and profit by a resounding 50% over the year before. Know what I got? A simple "good job". I didnt get a check cut out to me for a piece of what I done for the company. I didn't complain or threaten to leave to me it was my job to make things better and it wasnt that hard of a job to begin with. Hell since I had to deal with customers all day I'm pretty sure it's harder than that guy with the 5 lug air gun.
          Essende
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          @kevsflanagan, if you like to get taken advantage of, great for you man. Most people want to live decent lives with decent pay checks. If you see that your company is making millions and you are sitting doing your job to the best of your ability while all the costs around you are rising due to inflation, when the time comes for a raise, the boss will tell you, I would like to but because of the economy.... I have dealt with many non-unionized plants and I can tell you that people for the most part do not get the same money or benefits as in unionized plants, its not even close. Recently a friend of mine working in a factory, the basic family health insurance went up to almost $800 per month out of his pocket, considering that most people there don't make more than $15 per hour, how the heck can you really afford it??? I know not all plants are equal but I do know that as an individual I would rather work in a union than non-union shop and I do not consider myself lazy or looking for an easy way out. I just wanna make a decent living doing what I do. How would you explain Wal-Mart, a giant multi-billion company where a lot of its workers apply for welfare and other social programs because what they make there simply is not enough to even pay for basic necessities? Yet the CEOs and shareholders make billions? I know that unions work in specific environments, take a look at Japan/Germany/Scandinavia. Factory workers make decent wages and are able to afford going on vacations or even buy an apartment. How is it that they can and we can't? The problem is not the unions but the management on the very top. How come average USA CEO makes about 100 times average factory workers salary and average European CEO makes maybe 10 times as much? Unions didn't kill the US auto industry, management did. Management is the one responsible for passing through mediocre designs, management is responsible for all the financial aspects of the company. If the dialog between management and average factory worker wouldn't be so distant, a lot of good things would have been done for the average worker and the whole company as a whole. I have seen a lot of cases of bad management ruining whole companies with good workers simply because of total greed and mismanagement/lack of foresight on top.
          Pj Taintz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          you might call it getting taken advantage of, I call it doing his job.
        Kent Koester
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gabbo
        Actually they produce value for the companies they work for. Because of the better benefits and pay you can retain more employees versus a non union company that would undoubtable pay less and offer worse or no benefits. This is just corporations trying to turn the USA into China, when you all lose every worker's right we gained in the last 150 years you'll realize what a mistake getting rid of unions was.
          Mike48
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Kent Koester
          That's just pure fantasy. England once had a thriving auto industry. Interminable strikes by union workers destroyed almost every car brand the country ever produced.
        That Kid
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gabbo
        Bottom line is that companies produce little value for the societies they exist in, nor for the buyers of the products they produce. Corporations are simply there to maximize the amount of value they can EXTRACT from their workers, their customers, governments in the countries they do business in and the natural environment- once the host dies, the corporate parasite moves on to find another host.
          Mike48
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Kid
          Is that so? Who produced the automobile, the home computer, ipods, ipads, iphones, etc.? Was it some government program. In a free market a business cannot over extract value from their workers otherwise they would lose their best workers to a competitor. By the same token, if they produce little value for the products they wish to sell to the consumer, someone else will produce a better product for a lower price. That's what happens. As a citizen, I get to vote for my representative every two years, a president every four years but a politician elected in another state who I never had the chance to vote for, can enact laws that affect me directly. As a consumer, on the other hand, I vote every day when I go to the store and buy one product over another.
          benzaholic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @That Kid
          @Mike48 OK. In a truly free market, unsatisfied employees can easily and instantly switch employers, and companies not providing maximum consumer value will quickly be overrun by new companies. Reality check: It is certainly not a trivial effort to change jobs. Other jobs may not be available, or more realistically, they are an even less perfect fit (hours, commuting time, pay, workload, PHBs, career growth prospects, etc., etc.). My current employer may have me by the proverbial short hairs. You think you can make widgets better and cheaper than Company X? Go ahead. Oh, wait. There may be tremendous impediments to achieving that. Money, buildings, tools, designs, suppliers, employees, regulations, etc. etc. Looks like we're stuck with Company X branded mediocre widgets again. Rarely can any large market be truly free, so behavioral assumptions based on the existence of truly free market conditions are often false assumptions, so opinions or conclusions based on those invalid assumptions are fairly useless and irrelevant. I probably agree with That Kid that for corporations to be considered successful these days in the eyes of those who provide their funding (investors), the corporations must be attempting to squeeze every possible direct cost as much as possible. They therefore choose to ignore or minimize consideration of indirect costs, longer-term planning (especially anything longer than the expected tenure of the current leadership), and anything resembling a conscience (hey, if corporations are people, too...). And for those of us who like to think of ourselves as voting every day with our consumer habits, what can I do when I need to replace my bedside alarm clock, and I want a cheap American-made one? I can't cast that vote at WalMart, that's for sure. Free market, my fat white hiney. The academic term would be an "ideal" free market, as in "imaginary and frictionless".
      imtoomuch1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Unions are organized crime. They have absolutely no value in today's society. We have laws to protect the workers. Hats off to Indiana!
        AcidTonic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @imtoomuch1
        If it wasn't for unions you would live in a dungeon in the basement and never have a house or a family. Sure we may have better standards of living now, but as soon as they vanish the common worker will be slowly screwed until we're back where we started. I'm still seeing millions if not billions of profit. Looks like the Union isn't hurting anything. (non unionized IT worker)
          Michael Kowalski
          • 2 Years Ago
          @AcidTonic
          Henry Ford's scheduling was also about taking care of his employees. Forcing employees to work too long, no days off etc, will eventually cause burnout and end up becoming less productive in the long run. Unproductive employees doesn't allow for better effiency (higher effiency lowers costs). Content employees are productive employees.
        TelegramSam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @imtoomuch1
        Labor is the main thing that gives any company value. Without workers a company cannot create anything. The point of society is the benefit of the many, and not just richest and strongest.
      Mike48
      • 2 Years Ago
      Right on Indiana. It's about time politicians stood up to union bosses who almost singlehandedly ruined the american auto business. If unions claim the right to organize then, by extension, there should be a right not to organize as well. That's why we need right to work.
        That Kid
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mike48
        As far as the British auto industry goes, it is ill-advised to ignore the role played by shoddy engineering and poor consolidation of the numerous old marques into British Leyland with rampant badge engineering. And it is downright disingenuous to ignore the fact that the widespread industrial actions were the result of deep cuts in public spending on popular social programs and wage restrictions that caused the incomes of many working Britons to fail to keep pace with the increasing cost of living. Or in other words it was a backlash against harsh asymmetric austerity which forced the working class to take painful hits while the affluent were asked to sacrifice relatively little. Sounds a little familiar, don't it?
      TMTexas
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have to say I'm impressed with the Indiana republicans to stick with an issue long enough to outlast the democrats who usually whine about something just long enough for it to fade from the headlines and lose it's momemtum. Nice work Indiana, the proof of RtW is in the data pudding. RtW states are in better economic shape, hands down.
        desinerd1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @TMTexas
        Yeah, Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, Florida, South Carolina etc are all doing so well. I wish I could move there. /end sarcasm.
          Essende
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          @desinerd1, thats what I am talking about. Isn't it interesting that the Right to Work states are also one of the most poverty struck? I have been in a lot of places around the world and around USA and I know one thing, I would rather live in the unionized Northeast then the freedom loving midwest/south. For a so called superpower such as USA, I have not seen so many poor people as in Tennessee, South Carolina, or Texas. Actually Texas ranks on the very bottom when it comes to people who posses health insurance.
          JonZeke
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          They're also the fattest, since poor people don't eat well. Incidentally even though they're the worst for providing insurance they have the most medical issues, mostly stemming from so many people being overweight. Does anyone realize that undercutting a higher labor wage in one region for another will eventually depress wages for all?
          Septhinox
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          Ohio is a RTW state and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Us as well as being far from poor. You may want to check your RTW bias at the door as there are obviously other factors at play.
          IOMTT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          Looks like the non right to work states have massive systematic financial issues the worst being California. No problem, the feds will bail out the irresponsible states on the backs of all US taxpayers and future generations. One way or another, all this will be brought back into line. It will either be painful or excruciating. Count me in for going south.
          Essende
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          @IOMTT , please take a look at this statistic: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/11/fed-tax-sentspent-by-state/ Federal Tax Allotment by state, notice, most of the states who pay the most of the Federal Tax, receive the least. For every dollar that California puts in, it receives 78 cents back. The difference goes into the poorer states which mostly are Right To Work states, so if anything, its the Union states that subsidize the Right To Work states. And this has been going on forever. If NJ would receive Federal Taxes in a 1:1 ratio, streets around here would be paved in gold.
          TMTexas
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          Essende - Poverty struck by who's measure? I always find it interesting when people from the highest cost of living area in the country (the northeast) always point to the lower wages of the south without ever admitting that your cost of living is orders of magnitude lower. I moved from one of the wealthiest Detroit suburbs (in what was once the third wealthiest county in the US) to Houston and make more money while paying less for everything (rent, food, fuel, etc.). In addition, we also have to deal with our "friends" to the south and the border issue which greatly influences the skewed statistics you seem to enjoy referencing. Please, educate yourself before spouting off.
          IOMTT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          Essende, please explain why California is a financial disaster of a higher magnitude than Greece? Nice statistic if actually true, but look at the situation. The point is you have a correlation, but not causation in your analysis. That is where things fall apart. Is RTW the cause of all the statistics you cite? No, only a correlation.
          TMTexas
          • 2 Years Ago
          @desinerd1
          Sorry, should say "our" cost of living is orders lower, typo and no edit button is fun.
        Essende
        • 2 Years Ago
        @TMTexas
        @TMTexas, I have lived here and there throughout my existence. I have changed countries, states, more or less I know how the world looks like and how it works and long time ago I stopped believing in the myth that USA is number one, whatever that means. Unions or no-unions, this country currently has no leadership. People in congress/senate don't really care about the so called middle class. I am actually in favor of what China is doing, if you want to sell something on our soil, build the factory here, otherwise our market is closed to you. Eye for an eye. Anyway, I know Texas has lower expenses but what exactly is lower, food? not really, maybe taxes by few measly percentage points. Housing? Not if you you actually want to live in a decent suburb or city. http://www.americashealthrankings.org/Rankings Health care? Definitely not, Texas ranks on the very bottom when it comes people with private health insurance. And who do you think covers the emergency room costs when someone uninsured comes in? Indirectly it comes from federal taxes. I can go on and on and throw all the statistics and I just don't see the great advantage anywhere except for the fact that people on average simply live in lower standard than lets say NJ. Education is another issue: http://education.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/education/high-schools/articles/2009/12/09/americas-best-high-schools-state-by-state-statistics Notice AGAIN that the Union states rank much higher than the red states. I don't know what else I can throw at you to make a point. Maybe YOU make a decent living but YOU are not the whole state/nation.
          Essende
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Essende
          @TMTexas, again, you didn't provide any statistics or FACTS to back anything that you have just said. Its not like Northeast states don't have to deal with large illegal immigration problem and yet they offer much better education and health care. So what if you have the worlds largest medical center if most Texans don't have health insurance, its not like they can actually afford any major treatment there... That is simply pointless... I definitely prefer actual statistics as it actually shows a clear picture of what more or less is going on. Pretty much you didn't prove anything except for a couple of personal opinions based upon your own life. As far as protectionism, hmmm, if you would actually go around the world, you would see that most countries have it. European Union, Australia, China, Japan, even Canada use protectionism through higher tariffs/taxes, so either I am missing something or you don't know how other countries operate. Most of those countries are going through a rough time right now but so is USA, and guess what, USA didn't even offer public health care or access to good cheap college education for everyone.
          TMTexas
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Essende
          Likewise, I've been all over the world. Guess what? I still think the US is tops. No question we've a complete lack of leadership, but as much as I 'd like to blame those "leaders", it's the voting public who put them there. As for protectionist trade policy you clearly don't understand the impact such a thing would have on our way of life. Food is cheaper, yes. Taxes are much cheaper, no state income tax here, only property and sales. Housing is cheaper all the way around, nice suburbs and all. I live here and can attest to it. Health care, we have the world's largest medical center right here in Houston. I don't give a damn what percentage of people have private insurance, big deal. As stated above our statistics are massively skewed due to our issues with the Mexican border. And I certainly don't live in a "lower standard", I have a nice house, nice cars, make more money, and pay less taxes here than I did in Michigan - one of your coveted union states. Education? Again, skewed because of the border issue. And using union states as some sort of model for education? Most educate folks aren't in unions, you know that. What you're basing your weak argument on is a handful of loose correlations, nothing more.
      johnb
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice to see Indiana moving in the right direction. Might be too late, but still a good move, unless you're a thug union boss I guess.
      Hossi Blumengaarten
      • 2 Years Ago
      Look at New England and all of the union states they are all dead, we need to stop the unions in todays world if a company does something wrong people can put in on the internet and they will be screwed we do not need those union leeches anymore I hope more car companies go to Indiana and help them out, we need to stop the Unions
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rock on Indiana. Welcome to the future of American manufacturing. I doubt it will be long before you reap the benefits of your decision. It's nice to see these modern ideas creeping northward into the old traditional manufacturing states.
        TelegramSam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Yes, about as modern as 1890. Benefits will be reaped, but not by most us that are Middle Class. Hint: removing more middle class salaries, does not create a more robust Middle Class. I would call any job, that starts at under $20 an hour, to not be a serious way to make a living, in this day and age.
          Mchicha
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          "middle class" is a Democratic invention so that they can give you the impression that they are 'fighting for you'. America is generally a classless society. Go to India or England, and you will figure out pretty soon what a 'class based' society is.
          TelegramSam
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          @Mchicha No, Middle Class is not a code word for Democrats. It means that you make enough money that you don't have to struggle, if you work hard. There are many in this country that work hard, and still struggle. Is this right? Or do we have to sacrifice these people to feed YOUR ideology?
          Frank
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          Mchicha broke the code...
          IOMTT
          • 2 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          Middle class = don't have to struggle? Wow, I always thought that was the province of families with old money. In certain parts of the US $20/hr can support someone, but it is a struggle. What is your definition of struggle?
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