Indiana is set to become the first right-to-work state in over a decade after Republicans legislators paved the way on Wednesday to prohibiting unions from collecting mandatory fees from workers, according to the Associated Press.
The House voted 54-44 Wednesday to make Indiana the nation's 23rd right-to-work state. The bill is expected to pass the state's Republican-controlled Senate and could reach Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk on Feb. 5, the AP reports.
Over the past year, Republicans have pushed for other anti-union laws in battleground Rust Belt states where many of the country's manufacturing jobs reside, including Wisconsin and Ohio, but they also have faced backlash from Democrats and union supporters. Wisconsin last year stripped public sector unions of collective bargaining rights.
Despite massive protests outside the Capitol, Wisconsin's GOP-dominated Assembly passed a law backed by Gov. Scott Walker in March that strips nearly all collective bargaining rights from organized labor. Walker is now preparing for a recall election after opponents turned in a million signatures aimed at forcing a vote and ousting him from office. In November, Ohio voters repealed a law limiting collective bargaining rights that was championed by Gov. John Kasich and fellow Republican lawmakers.
Indiana would mark the first win in 10 years for national right-to-work advocates who have pushed unsuccessfully for the measure in other states following a Republican sweep of statehouses in 2010. But few right-work states boast Indiana's union clout, borne of a long manufacturing legacy.
If this kind of overhauling of labor laws represents a bellwether of change, we can expect to see a further erosion of the middle class. Strong union representation has helped America's workers maintain a foothold in the middle class for decades. To that end, we hope that activists and lawmakers in Indiana can join forces to fight the progression of this bill. They don't have time to waste.
Read more at the Washington Post.