2012 General Assembly to Convene Wednesday

Indiana Statehouse

The 2012 Indiana General Assembly convenes Wednesday with a contentious labor bill topping the legislative agenda.

GOP lawmakers and Governor Mitch Daniels say the law is needed to make Indiana more attractive to companies looking for a place to do business.

Union leaders and Democrats call it a transparent attempt to dismantle organized labor and say such a law drives down wages.

Some Republican Senators with many union members in their districts are placed in a tough spot going into an election year. One of those Senators, Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso, has said that he is going to study the bill long and hard before placing a vote one way or the other.

“To do something like that, to take that kind of an action, I think that it’s necessary that we be given some pretty compelling evidence to make that change,” said Senator Charbonneau. “To this point, we’ve been given a lot of studies, a lot of numbers, that seem to be all over the map. For every pro right-to-work study, there’s an anti-right-to-work study, but there’s no compelling evidence to make the shift. I’m still waiting to decide what goes on. In this point in time, I’ve not been convinced it’s a necessary move for us to be making as a state.”

Democrat State Representative, Nancy Dembowski, of Knox, has made no secret of what her feelings are on the right to work measure.

“There are a number of statistics and I’ve seen them and most people have seen them and truly few companies ask about right to work before they come to a state,” said Dembowski. “It’s easy to put statistics out there, but a few companies will. If they begin to ask about right to work and if right to work becomes an issue with them, usually there is some other reason why they’re not coming, not necessarily right to work.”

Right to work means another tool for attracting more jobs to Indiana the Republicans supporting the measure say. Dembowski though describes it this way.

“Right to work is really a misnomer. It should be right to work for less because that’s basically what it is. It’s over $5,000 per job that is diminished.”

We’ll look at other issues that will be before the legislators when they return to work tomorrow.