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What's Next For Unions Now Right-To-Work Is Law?

Last updated on Friday, February 3, 2012

(FORT WAYNE) (WANE) - So now that Governor Mitch Daniels has signed the right-to-work bill into law, what’s next for unions?

UAW local 2209 President, Mark Gevaart, says right now he's not concerned about union membership. Last September, the UAW renewed its contract for three years with General Motors.

"We have a contract with General Motors that enables us between September of 2011 and 2014 that there is not an option that someone can opt out because that contract was written before this legislation came to pass," UAW Local 2209 President Mark Gevaart said.

Business with the UAW will follow its current contract which requires employees to pay union dues.

"Whatever our agreements are with the UAW and others none of that will change," General Motors spokesperson Jeff Perry said.

Professor of Labor Studies, Mark Crouch, at IPFW has been studying Indiana's right-to-work bill and says Perry and Gevaart are wrong. He says the contract between the UAW and GM will be affected.

Crouch says starting Wednesday after Governor Daniels signed the bill union workers have the opportunity to opt out of paying dues.

"Workers are free to go to their employer and say I no longer wish to have any dues money taken out of my pay," IPFW Labor Studies Professor Mark Crouch said.

Gevaart and Local 2209 say their biggest concern is how things will change socially and economically.

"The kid that's in middle school today who won't have a voice or have a diminished wage and have an understanding of what that kind of work is even involved with. They'll never know that or never have an opportunity to find out what that's about," Gevaart said.

Gevaart also says teamsters in Oklahoma tell him right-to-work has only created more problems. One of them was originally for it.

"It pit worker against worker and that's what it was down to union or non-union it just pit people fighting against each other."

Crouch says he can see many Hoosiers getting upset over right-to-work and may overturn it by voting new legislators into office.

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