INDIANAPOLIS–For the past month Democrats have been on tour around the state, drumming up support for the American Jobs Plan. The federal legislation could mean the end of “Right to Work” laws, which is still a sore point with Democrats in Indiana.
“In the 28 states where Right to Work is passed, everybody earns three percent less than all other states hwerre there is no Right to Work. Regardless of whether you’re union or non-union, everybody earns less,” said Jon Hooker, president of the Labor Caucus for the Indiana Democratic Party.
Hooker was one of several speakers at a gather Thursday night that included Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ali Brown, AFL-CIO Pres. Brett Voorhies and Rep. Andre Carson (D).
Hooker referred to a decade ago when Right to Work was passed in Indiana, saying it was a move to crush unions and hurt their ability to organize. Democrat lawmakers held up the legislative session that year, moving to Illinois for six weeks to prevent it from happening. They ultimately lost to the Republican majority and lost ground in state politics.
Hooker and Voorhies see the American Jobs Plan as a way to destroy what Indiana Republicans passed and contend has made job creation easier.
“We have the chance now to get rid of this terrible legislation in all states,” said Hooker. “We have a chance to make it easier for working Hoosiers to form a union, to have a voice in their work place.”
Voorhies challenged Congress to fulfill the promises of the Jobs Plan.
“They need to step up and deliver the funding that we need to tackle climate change, to tackle racial injustice, to tackle economic injustice that are facing working families on a daily basis, while creating a new generation of union jobs,” he said. Those points are part of the Plan, according to the White House website.
Voohies said he believes that there is a hunger for stronger unions, especially after the pandemic. He said the phones at the AFL-CIO have been jammed with non-union workers asking for help because their employers had not been taking care of them properly with PPE, contact tracing and other concerns.
“America is strongest when we strengthen the middle class,” said Carson, one of two Democratic Congressmen representing Indiana.
He stressed the parts of the bill that could provide jobs, like creating “smart roads” to go along with smart cars and electric vehicles. He said building large-scale charging infrastructure for electric cars could also provide jobs for Hoosiers in the next ten years. He also said some Republican colleagues of his have forgotten what organized labor has done for the country and for their families.