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By SUE ELLSPERMANN, District 74 State Representative
Much attention is being focused on one key issue in the upcoming legislative session: Right to Work. We are now seeing the opposition groups speak out strongly as the governor and the Speaker have made this a top priority.
Opponents have every right to share their concerns. My commitment is to share openly with you the information we have gathered in extensive hearings, meetings and research to lead us to take a position of support for RTW.
RTW simply ensures no worker is required to join a union or pay union dues in order to get or keep their job. This is already the case in 22 other states. Workers still have the ability to organize, existing contracts remain and unions will not be decertified if RTW passes. RTW would simply give Hoosier workers the choice to belong to the union and pay union dues rather than being required to.
RTW opponents suggest it would lower wages. That is simply not true and has not occurred in the 22 states that have adopted RTW.
In fact, wages continue to increase when a state becomes RTW. Oklahoma, the most recent state to adopt RTW in 2001, has enjoyed an increase in both jobs and income. Oklahoma now has lower unemployment, as well.
Over the last 20 years, RTW states have landed three times more new jobs than non-RTW states. Economic development experts estimate that between 25 to 50 percent of companies consider only RTW states when looking for a new site. With Indiana’s 9 percent unemployment rate and a much higher underemployment, Hoosiers deserve a chance at these jobs.
It is important that you know “the facts” as this bill is considered in the upcoming legislative session that began Wednesday.
Ellspermann represents much of Perry County in the Indiana House of Representatives.