Navigating The Tricky Waters Of "Right To Work"

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 13, 2012 Updated Mar 13, 2012 at 5:58 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Getting ready for a "game changer" in Indiana's workplace.

The controversial "right to work" law takes effect Wednesday in businesses across the Hoosier state.

The new rules impact companies, unions and workers.

Some Fort Wayne business managers spent the day, preparing for a new reality.

Many Hoosiers undoubtedly followed the angry protests of union members at the Statehouse, before the legislature voted to make Indiana the 23rd state to adopt "right to work".

It means new collective bargaining agreements can no longer make workers pay union dues.

It was signed by Governor Daniels February first, but company reps gathered Tuesday at the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce to get questions answered, because the effective date was delayed until March 14th.

The in-between time, did it provide some benefit?

Tuck Hopkins/Labor Lawyer: " It gives everybody an opportunity to take a breath and just see how it implements, and how it effects them individually, and so hopefully, there will be a smooth transition into this."

Andrew Ables/OmniSource: " I've already heard from several sources that employees in the state are already asking their employers, hey, when can I stop paying dues, and when can I opt out?"

A lot of companies and unions have frantically worked on getting new collective bargaining agreements approved prior to March 14th.

In those cases, unions will be able to continue to collect union dues from workers until the new deals expire in the future.

Companies that have had a good experience with unions are content to make the deals, because they have protection from work stoppages for the life of the agreements.

Inside Indiana Business is quoting Governor Daniels as saying that “right to work” is already paying off economically for the Hoosier state.

He says Indiana has already signed new agreements with three companies, one that has announced coming to the state, while the other two await announcements.

He says 30 companies on a negotiation list have identified “right to work” as a major, if not the major, factor in their interest in Indiana.

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