The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the new figures for employment (and unemployment) in the states. Half the states gained jobs last month and about half the states lost jobs. Coming in second on the list for gainers: Indiana, where the state legislature is rushing to pass an anti-union Right to Work bill. After getting slammed senseless during the recession, the federal government says Indiana gained 15,100 jobs last month (much of it from the private sector, in the state’s best month for job growth in a decade).
Last night, the Indiana Senate passed its version of the bill to weaken unions. Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star tweeted just now that Democrats in the House aren’t showing up for a session today. We’re hearing that the Democrats could conceivably hold out until after the Super Bowl in Indianapolis next month, but that would be the outer limit. Still, it would be enough to show the nation that labor, including the NFL Players Association, objects to this bill. (UPDATE, 6:13 PM: Ms. Schneider reports that Democrats expect to return tomorrow “unless an ill wind blows.”)
Throughout the long debate over Right to Work, Governor Mitch Daniels has argued that Indiana can’t grow jobs without busting up the unions. He says it’s for workers’ own good. “The good news is when Indiana gets a chance to compete for new jobs, we’re winning – two thirds of the time. But we get cut out of a third of all deals because we don’t provide workers the protection known as Right to Work,” he said, in one ad.
Mr. Daniels used to oppose Right to Work for Indiana, on tape that labor will feature in a commercial after his response to SOTU tonight. I wonder if he’ll mention the brighter numbers and the growing union uprising in his own party. Nine Senate Republicans voted against the bill last night, and the new Lunchpail Republicans are bringing primary challenges to House Republican incumbents.