Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin

This happened yesterday in Indiana:

Over the protests of thousands of labor union members who filled the Statehouse, a House committee voted on party lines today to send a bill that would bar unions and companies from negotiating contracts that require all employees to pay fees for representation.

House Bill 1468 — which supporters call the “right to work” bill and which opponents call the “right to work for less” bill — passed the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee on an 8-5 vote and now goes to the full House for debate.

These are private sector union members. There were +/- 2500 there.

If you’re wondering why there weren’t larger crowds, it’s because Mitch Daniels decertified public sector unions when he took office:

On Mr. Daniels’s first day in office, he decertified the state government employee unions; in the first eight months, 92% of government employees quit paying their union dues.

Then Daniels outsourced social services work in Indiana, the public sector jobs that serve the most vulnerable:

Processing of welfare, food-stamp and Medicaid claims in Indiana was plagued with difficulties when the state outsourced the system to International Business Machines Corp. and Affiliated Computer Services Inc. two years ago.

Daniels’ scheme was an absolute money-losing disaster, and the state is still in litigation:

Indiana and former outsourcing partner IBM sued each other Thursday, May 13, the latest chapter in an increasingly sour relationship that went bad when the state decided last year to cancel an ambitious social services system. In October 2009, Gov. Mitch Daniels pulled the plug on Indiana’s 10-year, $1.6 billion outsourcing contract with IBM to streamline welfare eligibility in the state. Launched in 2007, the new system let citizens apply for welfare benefits online, in person or via telephone, and it implemented process changes designed to speed up and standardize eligibility determinations. Daniels called the concept — which drew criticism for high error rates and slow processing of eligibility requests — unworkable.

Private sector union members are joining the public sector union members in Wisconsin and Ohio because they know they’re next. First comes public unions and then private unions.

Along with requiring public employees to contribute more to pensions and health care coverage, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to put his state in the right-to-work column. His proposals have touched off an epic battle in Madison between pro-labor Democrats and Republicans who say they’re just trying to balance the budget. And now that battle is spreading. Throngs of union members and supporters gathered in Indianapolis Monday for a protest against a proposed bill in the Indiana House that would restrict collective bargaining rights and make it a misdemeanor to require any employee to join or pay dues to a union.

To any interested Ohio BJ’ers:

Here’s information on today’s action in Ohio
. The weather is lousy in NW Ohio, and we’re going to have trouble getting to Columbus from up here. If any of you are closer to Columbus and could come, that would be very helpful.

I apologize but I can’t respond to comments this morning. I thought the Indiana private sector union protest was important, so wanted to raise it.

Please consider Mitch Daniels’ Indiana when looking at Wisconsin and Ohio. It’s the conservative template. Public then private. Indiana will be the 26th state to destroy private unions, and Wisconsin and Ohio will be next.

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42 replies
  1. 1
    Napoleon says:

    This has got me so bummed out. First the Dems get 60 votes in the US Senate but are so incompetent, bought out and feckless that they don’t pass card check, or any labor reforms, and 2 years later the top 1% are about to get their wet dream of a labor force totally under their thumb.

  2. 2
    Kay says:


    I think it’s pretty useless to expect newspaper management to cover this fairly, so it’s really an uphill battle.
    They’re trying to bust their own unions. The Toledo Blade went rabidly anti-union when their own union members threatened an action.
    I just don’t think media management and owners are going to work against their own interests, so the coverage will continue to suck, and we’ll continue to talk about health insurance contributions, when that isn’t what this is about.

  3. 3
    Napoleon says:


    I expect the coverage, its just that when the Dems were in a position to advance the ball they did not. My entire adult life (the last 31 years) has been one loss for unions after anouther. For me my philisophical belief has always been that the first 3 goals of the Dems should always be 1) advance the greater good by insuring a fair economic shake for the average person, 2) advance the greater good by insuring a fair economic shake for the average person, and 3) advance the greater good by insuring a fair economic shake for the average person. That is why I argued strenously here that Obama should press ahead with healthcare reform before anything like Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. But ever since Clinton stabbed the working class in the back with NAFTA (well not so much NAFTA but not pairing it in its passage with worker protections/retraining, etc.) the Dems have really done nothing for working people. No wonder the white working class votes Rep.

    I wish I could make Columbus but stuck here in Clev. working on a purchase agreement for my corporate masters.

  4. 4
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Kevin Drum has a good piece that he released today on the Downfall of Unions where the key thought/take away for me was:

    As unions increasingly withered beginning in the ’70s, the Democratic Party turned to the only other source of money and influence available in large-enough quantities to replace big labor: the business community. The rise of neoliberalism in the ’80s, given concrete form by the Democratic Leadership Council, was fundamentally an effort to make the party more friendly to business. After all, what choice did Democrats have? Without substantial support from labor or business, no modern party can thrive.

  5. 5
    sherparick says:

    Reading the Fox News article, they of course cite the “totally” non-biased Cato institute on how “right to work states” had higher economic growth since 1977 then “union rights” states. This is of course an example of meme spinning and planting urban legends, but you have to know some basic economics to know it. First, a basic law logic and statistics is that “correlation does not in itself establish causation,” especially in something as complicated as economics and growth. Second, in developmental economics it is basic observed fact underdeveloped economies have a faster growth rates then already mature and developed economies. Most of the right to work states were in the South and the great plains, both relatively undeveloped areas of the the U.S., hence they would have grown faster than the developed regions of North and Mid-west. A third point is that most of these states are relatively rich in oil, natural gas, and coal, and with the secular trend of higher energy prices, growth has moved to these areas. But it is true that foreign manufacturers who have invested in the U.S. have preferred the non-union right to work states, such as BMW in Spartanburg, SC, and the Toyota plants across Tennessee, and Mercedes-Benz in Alabama. I don’t think of this as a feature.

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    I’m sure Sully will be along any minute with a paen to the manly, Thatcher-like fiscal genius of Mitch Daniels. Any minute…

  7. 7
    stuckinred says:

    @sherparick: And Hyundai in Georgia.

  8. 8
    pablo says:


    I beg your pardon!

  9. 9
    kay says:


    the manly, Thatcher-like fiscal genius of Mitch Daniels. Any minute…

    Daniels is a real manly man all right. Notice who he outsourced to IBM, in his huge privatization fuck-up that gets no press. The most vulnerable. Children.
    Indiana’s going to be in litigation for years to try to get his bad investment back. Good going, Mitch.
    His actual record is completely unexamined. Conservatives just accept the bullshit he spews on faith.

  10. 10
    cat48 says:

    Walker was on MJ this morning & wasn’t as slick as usual as they asked some hard questions. He said he had no reason to negotiate. I actually feel hopeful after watching it because he didn’t do so well. Also, Kasich has a temper & doesn’t hold up well in public. I was reading the OH blog that Kay referenced yesterday & they’re a little hopeful b/c some of the Senate Repubs are either against the bill or still trying to decide. The cake isn’t baked yet.

  11. 11
    Napoleon says:


    His actual record is completely unexamined.

    One of the reasons that Obama drives me crazy with his post partisan, don’t hit them hard, way of doing things is that if he draws Daniels as an opponent his actual record will still go unexamined when what Obama should do is run negative adds on everything he did (or did not do) 24/7. It was obvious to anyone with a brain 15-20 years ago that the press simply will not cover something unless one side or the other makes a big deal of it, yet the Dems routinely do not do that.

  12. 12
    Napoleon says:


    Also, Kasich has a temper & doesn’t hold up well in public.

    I think he comes of as a complete goof and just makes a horrible impression, but maybe that is just me since I thought Dubya came off as phony as a 3 1/2 dollar bill.

  13. 13
    gnomedad says:

    Milton Friedman opposed right-to-work laws. He also opposed fair employment practice laws, but so more for conservative principle in this case.

  14. 14
    agrippa says:

    I expected this sort of thing when we had a recession and all these Republicans got elected. Electing a Republican is akin to putting the grinch in charge of Christmas.

    It will be some time before people take notice of the consequences – if they ever take notice. Many happen to agree and are small time grinches themselves. If they are not, many will just shrug their shoulders and walk away.

  15. 15
    timb says:

    FINALLY! As an Indiana resident I have been waiting — seemingly forever — for someone I consider important to mention how Daniels has trashed this state. His privatization plan was so stupid; his union-busting was so repellent; and his desire to sell off public resources to his cronies so disgusting that you’d think someone would actually notice. Instead, they go on and on about supposed budget accomplishments (here’s the deal, if I sold you my TV for $200 and then leased it for $30/month for 5 years, I have 200 bucks in my pocket and can claim I made a profit. I did not).

    My House and Senate members here are Tea Party corrupt corporate stooges, so I can contact them, but other than promise not to vote for them again, I’m not sure what good it will do

  16. 16
    matoko_chan says:

    Well….this is the Rise of Distributed Jesusland in action. Dr. Manzi and i usta argue about this at TAS. Conservatives are fully cognizant of the demographic timer and the effect HCR will have on the electorate.
    They need minority votes to survive.
    So they are going to bust unions, but only unions with democratic consistancies.
    They want to make the poor, blacks, and browns, turn to the GOP for protection.
    For a year now, the GOP leadership has been trying to switch off birtherism in the base. It remains at around 73-78%. ( +/- 4%)

    It cant be done. the percentage hasnt changed from the last CPAC, where they went full out to suppress it.
    birtherism 2011
    Weigel is fulla shit on motivation of course–hes a glibertarian whore– Birtherism is subliminated racism, overt racism is taboo in America.
    birtherism 2010

    Will it surprise you to learn that this belief is strongest among Republicans? Forty-one percent of GOP-ers buy the birther twaddle (that’s 14 percent “definitely” born abroad and another 27 percent “probably”) undecided 26.

    like most conservative ideology, this is a tactic, and uneffective, even harmful in the long game. but it could possibly give the GOP the boost it needs to claim one last WH in 2016.
    i think that is the game.

  17. 17
    matoko_chan says:

    wallah….the percentage of birthers has actually gone up in the GOP.
    no wonder they are desperate.

  18. 18
    ContrarianLibertarian says:

    It should be pointed out that Gov. Mitch Daniels is *not* supporting the Right-to-Work legislation in Indiana.

    He hasn’t gone so far as to issue a veto threat and said that he appreciates the sentiments behind it. But he said that it was not something that he and the Republicans campaigned on, hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, and would likely nuke the entire legislative session to boot.

    The 2010 campaign was defined by education reforms (expanding charter schools, vouchers for low-income families, teacher merit pay, college scholarships for kids who graduate HS in 3 years) and that’s the legislation Daniels is pushing.

    What’s more, it’s not even clear that right-to-work has the votes — even with the Indiana House controlled 60-40 by the GOP.

  19. 19
    debbie says:

    @ Napoleon:

    One of the reasons that Obama drives me crazy with his post partisan, don’t hit them hard, way of doing things is that if he draws Daniels as an opponent his actual record will still go unexamined

    I don’t know. I think waiting until they hang themselves with their own rope is a whole lot more fun.

  20. 20
    matoko_chan says:

    For a year now, since the last CPAC conservative leadership has tried hard to suppress birtherism.
    its not working.
    so they are going to bust unions that vote democratic.
    after 50 years of racebaiting and IQbaiting to win, they cant the racism and anti-intellectualism off.
    Salam-Douthat stratification on cognitive ability and the demographic timer are about to condemn conservatism to the dustbin of history.
    Poor Sully.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    sistermoon says:

    Whatever happened to the time-honored conservative tradition of keeping government from interfering with business?

    Does it fall by the wayside when it comes to union-busting?

  23. 23
    Svensker says:


    Ya think?

    Consistency for thee, but not for me.

  24. 24
    E.D. Kain says:

    @DecidedFenceSitter: That’s an excellent piece. I read that earlier.

    Kay – really good stuff. Thanks.

  25. 25
    WyldPirate says:

    Please consider Mitch Daniels’ Indiana when looking at Wisconsin and Ohio. It’s the conservative template. Public then private. Indiana will be the 26th state to destroy private unions, and Wisconsin and Ohio will be next.

    Don’t worry y’alls pretty little heads. President Obama will ride in on a white stallion any minute now to save their jobs and their unions. He has a tried and true solution–whiping his ass with their labor contracts.

    They’ll be grateful to have their jobs at half the pay and benefits and the lower labor costs will be a big hit with Obama’s biggest campaign supporters on Wall St.

  26. 26
    matoko_chan says:

    Sully choses sides.
    this is the essence of conservatism.
    to cling desperately to the past, even failed paradigms.

  27. 27
    agrippa says:

    As long as humanity has ‘crankyism’ and ‘schadenfreudeism’ in its’ makeup, we will always have ‘conservatism’.

    There is really very little that is conservative about present day USA conservatism. It has far too great a sense of being aggrieved. Thus the crankiness and schadenfreude.

  28. 28
    Moses2317 says:

    Here’s my guide to all of the rallies occurring throughout the country, along with other ways to support public employees and their unions.


  29. 29
    john b says:

    went to a cold and rainy protest in dayton yesterday morning. surprisingly good turnout for such crappy weather.

  30. 30
    Another Commenter at Balloon Juice (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Napoleon: More than a goof; when he gets rattled his nasty streak is plainly obvious. He will have a meltdown. He was tightly handled during the campaign, so people who didn’t know he was nasty didn’t get to find out from the coverage. They will find out soon.

  31. 31
    matoko_chan says:


    As long as humanity has ‘crankyism’ and ‘schadenfreudeism’ in its’ makeup, we will always have ‘conservatism’.

    false, sorry.
    a tribe without reps cannot survive.
    there may be a new ressentiment party that arises to take conservatism’s place, but it will be called something else.
    conservativism is going to be relegated to the dustbin of history, along with the Whigs and the Shakers.

  32. 32
    matoko_chan says:

    @E.D. Kain: wheres my link, liar?

  33. 33
    kay says:


    One of the reasons that Obama drives me crazy with his post partisan, don’t hit them hard, way of doing things

    Napoleon, I don’t know why you’re talking about this at this time. This is a state law action. These are governors. Had these GOP governors not taken these races, this state law action this wouldn’t be occurring. It isn’t happening in Minnesota. This is one area where state law matters. Hence, they’re in the statehouse, and not the US Congress.
    I just feel as if this Obama discussion is tragically beside the point. We can have it, but I don’t know what it has to do with the issue at hand.

  34. 34
    Iowa Housewife says:

    We are demonstrating here in Iowa at the capitol in Des Moines at 1:00. Teapartiers are going to be there too. Should be fun and interesting.
    Union Yes!

  35. 35
    kay says:


    He has a tried and true solution—whiping his ass with their labor contracts.

    They’ll be grateful to have their jobs at half the pay and benefits and the lower labor costs will be a big hit with Obama’s biggest campaign supporters on Wall St.

    And you repeat this constantly and you have no idea what you’re talking about. The UAW began negotiating a tiered wage beginning in 2007.

    In 2007, the United Auto Workers union — which represents laborers at the Big Three — negotiated a historic deal that calls for a new voluntary employee benefit association that will allow the Big Three to contribute a one-time cost and subsequently allow the unions to run the health care benefits program of retired autoworkers. That will allow the companies to wipe out their health care obligations to retirees. In addition, the unions agreed to a two-tiered pay system such that new (second-tier) hires will start at about $14 an hour.

    This is more complicated
    than a throw-away line.

  36. 36
    matoko_chan says:


    but I don’t know what it has to do with the issue at hand.

    nothing. this is the Rise of Distributed Jesusland that Dr. Manzi and i talked about at TAS. this is why localized redstate elections sent a majority to the house, and why republican governers were elected.
    it is localized mob rule, aka federalism.

  37. 37
    kay says:


    If you’re actually interested in tiered wages,or the 2007 contract talks, you could start reading here.

  38. 38
    Paul in KY says:

    @debbie: Will we have already been hung by the time they are hung?

  39. 39
    Stillwater says:

    Well, some of the goals of the GOP are emerging, at least: dismantle public sector unions, then outsource those ‘cushy’ government jobs to the private sector. This will all be justified under the umbrella of fiscal conservatism, and ensmallening government, and balancing the budget. But really, it’s about as radical and financially embiggening as it could get. Once IBM, or whoever, gets those huge contracts, they have an effective monopoly stake in the provision of that service (even tho in principle some other firm could offer a competing bid, with new systems, new procedures). The long history of American style capitalism demonstrates that such a relationship won’t go well for the tax payer, in terms of quality or price.

    But from another perspective, of course, this is really just a way to shred the political efficacy of organized labor, lower overall wage rates and benefits packages, and redirect tax dollars to private businesses in the form of outsourced contracts. Next up, redefining the term ‘public interest’ to mean the unilateral power of the Governor’s office to do … whatever the fuck he/she wants.

    Oh wait. That’s on the table too, and already SOP in some states. Of course, this will entail the selling off state owned assets – at the Governor’s discretion – in a model very familiar to Latin American governments under the structural adjustment programs imposed by the world bank/IMF. Of course, SAPs also require de-certifying unions, re-structuring social welfare programs, in some cases voiding existing benefits packages, and privatizing services that are the domain of the public interest.

    America is starting to feel a little third-worldish.

  40. 40
    slag says:

    I have to say that, from an entirely individual perspective, I’ve had very mixed feelings about unions. Having been apart of one in the past, I’ve wondered whether or not it was truly serving my best interests. But after all I’ve been reading here and everywhere else lately, my squeamishness about unions is disintegrating faster than our middle class.

    Great post, Kay!

  41. 41
    Silver Owl says:

    The republicans sure know how to get themselves hated and eventually destroyed.

    Unrest will only grow.

  42. 42
    Linda M says:

    It’s being reported that Indiana House Democrats have left the state to protest a bill that would make Indiana a “right to work” state. I’m so proud. There was a big protest at the State House yesterday and more planned for today and the rest of the week. I will be able to go on Thursday.

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