The AFL-CIO polled citizens of Indiana, and found a majority oppose this effort by the GOP in the State Legislature.
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
Media Contact: Jeff Harris, Indiana State AFL-CIO, 317.632.9147
NEW POLL SHOWS HOOSIERS REJECT PARTISAN “RIGHT TO WORK”
Hoosiers want a focus on jobs and the economy instead of divisive attacks on working families
INDIANAPOLIS – A new poll released today shows that Hoosiers – including Republicans – reject partisan “right to work” legislation and believe their elected officials should focus on jobs and the economy instead of divisive attacks on working family’s collective bargaining rights.
The poll, commissioned by the AFL-CIO, found that support among Hoosier voters for the controversial union busting bill is weak, with just 38 percent favoring its passage while 47 percent stand in opposition. The survey also finds that 67 percent of Hoosiers disagree with Statehouse Republicans decision to make “right to work” their top priority and wish they would move on to other issues.
“With so many hardworking families struggling, this poll clearly shows that Hoosiers’ patience for these divisive and partisan attacks has run out. The numbers – among Democrats, Republicans and Independents – all show that Hoosiers are ready to move away from “right to work” and onto more important issues like fixing the economy,” said Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott. “
The poll also found that among self-identified Republicans only 59 percent support the bill, well below the level of support one would expect for their top legislative priority, and considerably weaker than the 72 percent opposition among Democrats.
The GOP responded with a poll that was such clear trash that an Indiana newspaper called it out. Once again, the GOP poll asks a question that is not rooted in reality or actually current law. Note what is highlighted in newspaper article below.
But Bosma said a poll of Hoosiers by the House Republican Campaign Committee shows 65 percent support a right-to-work law and only 28 percent oppose it.
“Right-to-work isn’t about unions — it is about freedom and economic opportunity,” Bosma said. “It is about giving all Hoosiers the freedom to choose a job, decide how their hard-earned money is spent and bring more employment opportunities to Indiana.”
The differences in support for right-to-work between the two polls may be based on Bosma’s polling definition of right-to-work as a law that ensures “a worker cannot be required to join a labor union or pay labor union dues in order to get or keep a job.”
Federal law has prohibited that kind of mandatory union membership since 1947, and no American worker can be required to pay union dues.
An Indiana right-to-work law would ban an employer and a union from agreeing to permit the collection of fees from nonunion members to cover the costs of services the union is required by federal law to provide all employees at a union employer.
But then, what else is new from the GOP. This has become a consistent pattern. It is like their recent frantic hootings about how important it is to stop threatening dust regulations that are to be imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Problem is, there are no such regulations. They do not exist.
The issue may be dust in the wind, but Republicans are still moving to block it.
Environmental Protection Agency officials have said—over and over again—that they won’t propose new regulations to limit dust kicked up by farm equipment. But anti-regulation sentiment is strong this year on the campaign trail, and real or not, House Republicans are planning to vote this week to prevent such regulations.
Republicans and even some Democrats have told farm-state audiences that the EPA is considering a crackdown on farms, despite the agency’s public statement in October calling that a “myth.”
Supporters say they are pushing the bill this week because they want more certainty for the agriculture industry. The House GOP has pushed a host of measures aimed at weakening, delaying or scrapping environmental regulations in recent months, saying they view them as job killers.
South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem, the bill’s sponsor, says the EPA’s assertions don’t “hold a lot of water” for wary farmers.
“The EPA has been so aggressive on a lot of its policies, so we just want to make sure they can’t take any action that can hurt the farm industry right now,” she said.
Democrats have scoffed at the bill and are calling it a waste of time.
Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, joked sarcastically on Tuesday that the bill is “critically important” since the EPA has said they have no intention of regulating farm dust.
“We are once again doing a bill that is not necessary and has no effect,” Hoyer said at a news conference at the Capitol.
And these analysis, again, just chock full of pesky facts that totally refute the GOP party line on Right to Work laws. This, too, from an Indiana newspaper.
As a report by the Higgins Labor Studies Program pointed out, trying to attract businesses to a state based on low wages is the “low road” to economic development. It is a “trickle-down” approach that leads to a “race to the bottom.” It undermines living standards for most workers and, in a globalized environment, is unlikely to lead to a long-lasting increase in economic growth.
Most people would agree that lowering wages and benefits for Indiana workers is not the best way to promote economic development in Indiana. RTW advocates seem to recognize this and go to great lengths to deny that RTW laws lower wages and benefits. In a section in its report titled, “Testimony Supporting RTW,” the committee states that “RTW states have … higher wages when adjusted for cost of living … than non-RTW states.”
But this line of argument is hard to sustain. In the very next sentence in its report, the committee states that “RTW lowers the cost of doing business and makes labor costs more affordable.” Now how is it possible for a RTW law to lead to higher wages when RTW “makes labor costs more affordable”?
The truth of the matter is that RTW laws do lower wages and benefits — for all workers in RTW states. In a recent thoroughly documented and well-researched study (which, by the way, adjusts for the cost of living), economists Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz demonstrate that workers in RTW states make $1,500 less in wages annually compared to workers in non-RTW states.
One other point about the study committee report should be noted. In its section on testimony supporting RTW, the committee repeats, without comment, the following statement: “Unions argue that they are forced to bargain for all employees, not only for union members, but there is nothing in law that forces them to do that.”
This statement, however, represents a misunderstanding of the relevant legal principles under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 9(a) of the NLRA provides that any unions selected or designated for purposes of collective bargaining “shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit. ..” (emphasis added). Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a union owes a duty of fair representation to all employees in the bargaining unit (union members and non-members alike), and it is because of that duty that the court has sanctioned the imposition of fees “to the extent necessary to ensure that those who enjoy union-negotiated benefits contribute to their cost.” In addition, if a union has not been designated as the exclusive representative of all employees in the bargaining unit, then the employer is under no statutory obligation to collectively bargain with the union.
It might also be useful to point out another misleading statement about unions in the committee report. Its first “finding of fact” states the following: “Based on the principles of freedom of speech and association, individuals should be able to choose whether or not to associate with unions.” There is no requirement under current labor law for any worker to join a union. The “fair share” clauses that RTW laws would ban do not require workers to become members of a union; they only require workers who benefit from the results of a collective bargaining agreement to contribute to the costs of negotiating and administering that agreement. The Supreme Court established this principle in NLRB v. General Motors Corp., and further defined it in Communications Workers of America v. Beck.
I know, I know. Facts don’t matter to Republicans. They create their own reality. IOKIYAR. Etc, Etc, Etc.