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Right to work

Erin Wright | Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My fellow students,

I am not sure if you are aware of what is currently going on in our state’s capital, however, our legislators are engaged in what is surmounting to be a huge battle over labor rights and the right of the worker to collective bargaining, by way of labor unions. Until recently, I was not too familiar with what a “Right to Work” law meant, however, upon research and through discussions with family members and friends from back home heavily involved in the union movement, I have learned of the gravity of a “Right to Work” law and the potential impact that it can have on workers in our state. According to a  “Right to Work” laws, non-union employees can benefit from collective bargaining without paying union dues. This, thereby, weakens unions, results in lower wages for workers, and jeopardizes the health and safety of workers statewide. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker in a “Right to Work” state makes about $5,333 less a year than workers in other states.  Moreover, advocates of “Right to Work” bills neglect the fact that federal law already protects non-union employees from paying union dues insofar as they violate their religious or political beliefs. In addition, the US Supreme Court has already ruled that non-union employees need only to pay the proven proportion of dues that unions spend to represent them, costs which must be thoroughly laid forth and can be challenged before dispensation. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that there are 51 percent more workplace deaths and 21 percent less health insurance in states where such laws are in place. Labor unions play a vital role in our state and the weakening of the power of unions is sure to have drastic detrimental effects on Indiana’s workers. So, my fellow students, I challenge you to do your part as informed citizens and soon to be members of the workplace and stand against the “Right to Work” legislation in the state of Indiana.  


Erin Wright


Pangborn Hall

Feb. 21