With the Indiana House passing right-to-work legislation, and the expected quick approval from the Senate and Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana might be the first, but possibly not the only state to trim back union influence this year. Other states including Minnesota and Rhode Island, to name a few, have joined the trend to scale back union influence in one way or another.
Minnesota’s 2012 legislative session began on Jan. 24, and interest in right-to-work legislation is already heating up. The Pioneer Press reports State Sen. Dave Thompson (R) plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks, and the conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment released a report claiming if the state had prohibited closed union shops when the majority of other right-to-work states had, then on average Minnesota workers would have made from $2,260 to $3,072 more in 2008.
Providence Eye Witness News reports that Rhode Island State Sen. Nicholas Kettle (R) has plans to introduce a right-to-work bill for teachers. The current laws mandate public school teachers must pay union dues or agency fees as a condition of employment. “The National Education Association uses questionable tactics when dealing with our legislature… harming the reputation of many fine teachers and placing our children at the bottom of our priority list,” said Kettle.
While these bills may not find the same success as Indiana, they are sure to face the same critics – unions. In response to Kettle’s legislation in Rhode Island, NEA government relations director Pat Crowley said, “The results are always the same: more profits for the 1%, more work for the 99%.” This is a bizarre response considering that giving teachers the option to opt out of union membership doesn’t create profits for anyone (though it would take money away from union leaders). If anything it could reduce the cost to the tax payer (the 99%).