Labor Leader Says "RTW" Bill Would Undercut Unions

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

February 24, 2011 Updated Feb 24, 2011 at 6:58 PM EDT

INDIANA (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - They say it's dead, but the head of the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council is afraid the "Right to Work" bill could come back to life before the 2011 legislative session is put to rest.

Tom Lewandowski says there's a deadly cocktail of bills potentially impacting labor and education that's still being stirred up in the halls of the Statehouse, even if the "Right to Work" bill is indeed out of the mix this year.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly killed the Right to Work bill Wednesday, sending it to a study committee, after democrat lawmakers staged a walk-out and hundreds of union protesters gathering in the Capitol Building chanted "No RTW".

Lewandowski says the bill requiring unions to represent all workers on a particular contract, even ones not paying dues, would undercut unions.

He says if the labor organizations suffer, we all suffer.

Tom Lewandowski/Central Labor Council: " Governments then go to places where they shouldn't go and you can see that in North Africa and the Middle East, and efforts to limit the labor movement here in the United States and the voice for the foundation of our society, that's troublesome."

People on the other side say unions are protesting to maintain extraordinary wages, not livable ones.

The Center for Union Facts out of Washington D.C. cites a study that union-backed public sector employees earn five percent more than their private sector counterparts, meaning demonstrations in Indiana and Wisconsin are about protecting pay and benefits that are better than the norm.

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