(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law Wednesday making Indiana the first right to work state in the Midwest, and the first state to do so in ten years.
House Bill 1001 passed the state Senate Wednesday morning on a 28-22 vote. Lawrenceburg’s Johnny Nugent joined eight other Republican senators in voting against it.
The law bans companies and unions from requiring non-union members to pay fees to the union for representation.
Just hours after the Senate passage, Daniels signed the bill without much fanfare. There was no signing ceremony and no press conference afterwards.
The governor did issue a statement saying seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs.
“This law won’t be a magic answer but we’ll be far better off with it,” Daniels said. “I respect those who have objected but they have alarmed themselves unnecessarily: no one’s wages will go down, no one’s benefits will be reduced, and the right to organize and bargain collectively is untouched and intact.”
“The only change will be a positive one. Indiana will improve still further its recently earned reputation as one of America’s best places to do business, and we will see more jobs and opportunity for our young people and for all those looking for a better life.”
Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said working class Hoosiers will make their opinion known in November.
“They’ve woken the sleeping bear and the moderate, middle-class, regular, common sense Americans are going to be mad. I think they’re tired of right wing politics,” she said.
Thousands of pro-union protestors rallied at the statehouse as the bill passed the Senate.
"You ain't seen nothing yet," Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott told Republicans as she spoke to a large crowd outside the capitol.
As the bill was being sent to the governor’s desk, the protestors marched to the Super Bowl village outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
An AFL-CIO spokesperson told the Indianapolis Star that no organized right to work protests are being planned on Super Bowl Sunday.