Local News Politics

Supporters and opponents of Indiana’s controversial “right-to-work” proposal spoke out today at a lengthy Statehouse hearing.

United Steelworkers Union member Hanna Walt was among the dozens of members of organized labor who railed against legislation that would prohibit companies from making union membership as condition of employment.

The unions say making Indiana a right-to-work state would drive down wages and work quality.

“They’re coming after the working people now. We’ve got to stop it. We’re going to stand up and fight back,” Walt said.

But Anderson businessman John Raine argued the policy is needed to boost economic development.

“Because what will happen is more businesses will come in. There will be more demand for labor, and what happens when demand for labor goes up, wages go up,” he said.

A right-to-work bill introduced in the Republican-led General Assembly earlier this year prompted a five-week walkout by House Democrats.

A study panel is gathering more input on the issue before sending its recommendations to the 2012 legislature.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."