A right to work law, which exempts nonunion workers from paying dues when working with union employees, has been approved by Indiana's House of Representatives.
The approval, which is a critical step in the law's passage, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Next, the bill goes to the Senate, which has already approved a version.
Indiana will become to the first right-to-work state in the nation’s industrial belt, and the first state to pass such legislation since Oklahoma approved a similar measure in 2001, according to Businessweek.
“Adopting a right to work law will increase Indiana’s economy, bringing more customers and growth to Indiana’s small businesses,” Indiana's National Federation of Independent Businesses director Barbara Quandt told CBS News.
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Over the past year, Republicans have pushed for other anti-union laws in battleground states such as Wisconsin and Ohio, where many of the country’s manufacturing jobs are located, CBS reported. However, they have faced backlash from Democrats and union supporters.
“If you look at states that have enacted this policy, the average worker loses about $5,500 in salary per year,” Jeff Harris, of the state AFL-CIO, told CBS.
Indiana's democrats boycotted some of the Republican-controlled chamber’s sessions for about three weeks, according to Businessweek.
According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation,
The Right to Work principle...affirms the right of every American to work for a living without being compelled to belong to a union. Compulsory unionism in any form--"union," "closed," or "agency" shop--is a contradiction of the Right to Work principle and the fundamental human right that the principle represents.
Roughly 4.7 million Americans moved from forced-union states to right-to-work states between 2000 and 2008, according to a Cato Journal study by economist Richard Vedder. Per capita income also rose 23 percent faster in right-to-work states between 1977 and 2007.