Before the show last night, I got a chance to ask our guest from Indiana, State Representative Scott Pelath, what the effect will be in five or 10 years of the new Right to Work bill charging through the Indiana legislature. "Lower wages," he told me. That's because union wages lift wages for everyone -- union or not. They force employers to compete for good workers. Once you weaken the unions, it's a race to the bottom.
And it's a race to the bottom outside of Indiana, too. In its coverage of the Indiana House voting to strip union rights, the New York Times looks at other states where Republicans are now eyeing Right to Work laws. The Missouri Senate, for one, has a bill moving through. Michigan sounds envious. "I'm disappointed that they beat us to this one," Republican State Representative Mike Shirkey told the Times.
Then there's Ohio, where Governor John Kasich passed a law stripping union rights from public workers last year only to see his popularity fall and his legislation whomped by citizen veto. Tea Party activists have been bucking to put a Right to Work measure on the state ballot this year.
At a presser today, Governor Kasich got asked whether Right to Work in Indiana has any effect in Ohio. The key moment comes at about 2:20 in video above, posted on the essential Ohio Capital Blog:
First of all, Indiana has a different set of government than we have. They don’t have any referendum or anything like that, and you can pass something if you've got the parties lined up. We've got a different situation here. And the one thing you have to do is, if you’re going to bring about massive change, that’s going to cause great unrest – I mean, I've learned this – is you've got to prepare the way. I mean, I've learned it. You take a look at our record, you know, you go out deep-sea fishing, you catch a lot of sharks. We've caught 'em. Once in a while the shark eats you, OK? That just happens, so what, that’s just part of life. But you have to prepare the public, and I don’t think the public even knows what this issue is. And believe me, they will find out what it is, with huge amounts of money coming in from all over the country. I don't think the public understands it, I don't think they're prepared for it, and I would say that anybody that wants to move this thing forward needs to do that before anything else.And in addition to that, I've just talked about the labor situation in the state, and by and large it's been pretty darned good. At this point, I would say, if you really feel strongly about it, go out and tell people why it's important.
Shorter Governor Kasich: I am not touching that with a 10-foot pole.