Indiana First Right to Work Rust Belt State

Becomes 23rd overall and first in a decade


After months of contentious debate, during which Democrats in the Indiana legislature staged numerous walkouts and protests to obstruct legislative business, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill opening up the state labor market to competition. The New York Times reports:

The legislation, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation, makes Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right to work legislation and the only one in the Midwestern manufacturing belt to have such a law.

Mr. Daniels, a Republican who is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election this year, signed the measure only hours after it cleared the Republican-held State Senate — an unusually speedy journey through the Statehouse aimed, many said, at ending what had become a rancorous, partisan fight before the national spotlight of the Super Bowl arrives in Indianapolis on Sunday. The bill, which takes effect immediately, makes Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with such a law.

The measure is another blow to a labor movement that, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars in electoral politics and recruitment drives, continues to see its membership stagnate and its influence wane.