PROTECTING INDIANA JOBS AND WORKERS

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”
— Mitt Romney, op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”, Nov. 18, 2008


I didnt take a pledge that I would support every job in Indiana under whatever means it takes to do it…
— Richard Mourdock, Indianapolis Star, Oct. 19, 2010

Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered.”
— Mitch Daniels, Feb. 1, 2012


I
n 2004, when Daniels berated his opponent, Gov. Joe Kernan, for Indiana’s sluggish economy, Hoosiers earned 91 cents for every dollar earned by the average American. By last year, it was just 86 cents.
— I
ndianapolis Business Journal, Jan. 8, 2011

 

Organized labor has led the charge against poverty throughout American history, helping to create millions of good jobs and strengthening the middle class. The Indiana Democratic Party supports their efforts to protect working Hoosier families.

Nowhere is that commitment more evident than our fight to protect the state’s auto industry. Four years ago, with our economic on the brink, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voted to save American jobs – and continue to manufacture automobiles in the United States.

Some assailed it as a bailout; some called it radical, bad business, or a government takeover. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney openly called for us to allow Detroit to go bankrupt and take hundreds of thousands of American jobs down the tubes with it. Romney, who made his fortune by eliminating American jobs, warned that any offer of assistance would only ensure the failure of the industry in the long haul. Here in Indiana, State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock wasted nearly $3 million in taxpayer money suing over the auto rescue, putting 150,000 Hoosier jobs at risk.

With the potential collapse of GM and Chrysler, America faced the loss of thousands auto industry-related jobs. This would have sent our nation’s economy into a tailspin.  Granting a loan to the American auto industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that went with it was about protecting the economic future of our country and, more importantly, preserving the American Dream.

It has been a remarkable comeback. In Indiana, the number of auto industry-related jobs hit a low in the summer of 2009, dipping to just over 78,000 jobs.  Thanks in part to historic investments by Chrysler in its transmission plant in Kokomo, by GM in its transmission plant in Bedford, and investments in other communities across the Hoosier state, we’ve added more than 25,000 auto industry-related jobs since then. We’re now back to more than 100,000 auto industry-related jobs, a success we can all celebrate.

Indiana Democrats also fought against and continue to strongly oppose the divisive new “right to work” law forced into enactment by Indiana Republicans. We believe the law should be repealed in the next legislative session because it is an assault on good-paying jobs and lowers safety standards in the workplace.

We support the passage and enforcement of state and federal laws ensuring workers the right to choose a union, including those who work in the public sector. We support the passage of the

Employee Free Choice Act to give workers a real choice in whether to unionize. We encourage stronger penalties for violating labor laws, and support banning permanent replacements of striking workers.

Trade deals also must benefit Hoosier workers, not just increase profits for multinational corporations. The Indiana Democratic Party supports aggressively enforcing the trade policies already in place, and will push for any new trade agreements to include strong standards on labor, the environment, and currency manipulation. We must:

•     Crack down on unfair practices that lead to a loss of Hoosier jobs. Indiana manufacturers face unfair competition, and we need to level the playing field.

•     Close tax loopholes that encourages some giant, Wall Street corporations to ship American jobs overseas. It is

unacceptable that our tax code currently offers incentives for sending Hoosier jobs to other countries.

•     Oppose all unfair trade deals that ship American jobs overseas. We need fair trade, not so-called free trade agreements that put American companies at a disadvantage and Hoosiers out of work.

In many industries, violations of our most basic labor laws have become the accepted way of doing business. We will work to restore workers’ rights to overtime, to enhance prevailing wage protections, to stop companies from mislabeling employees as “independent contractors” to avoid paying benefits and taxes, to expand minimum wage protections for tipped workers and home care workers, and to index the minimum wage to the cost of living.

The Indiana Democratic Party believes that Hoosier workers simply doing their jobs should not be caused harm. We support enhanced protections for whistleblowers reporting injuries or unsafe conditions to ensure that problems are reported and resolved, and we believe that worker’s compensation must be reformed to ensure workers injured on the job receive the care and support needed to return to the workforce.

We support public employees and oppose outsourcing critical government services for profit. Public employees should be given a fair chance to compete with private contractors where outsourcing is a viable option, but with the recognition that work involving essential governmental functions should never be privatized. We strongly support a thorough evaluation of contractors’ records on tax, labor, environmental and other laws prior to awarding contracts.

The Indiana Democratic Party believes that government should be free to utilize project labor agreements and recognizes that they can be an important tool to enhance worker protections and economic development.

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