Mitch Daniels Calls On State GOP To Abandon Union-Busting Bill

February 22, 2011 11:01 a.m.

Members of the Democratic state House caucus in Indiana have found an unlikely ally in their quest to stop the GOP majority from pushing through a bill that critics say would destroy union organizing in the state. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) took to the airwaves today to call on members of his party to drop the controversial “right to work” bill that led to Democrats going AWOL.

Daniels’ statement, from WISH-TV:

“I’m not sending the state police after anybody. I’m not gonna divert a single trooper from their job of protection the Indiana public. I trust that people’s consciences will bring them back to work. … For reasons I’ve explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised.”

Daniels has said for months that he’s in favor of the idea behind the controversial bills, that critics say would make it nearly impossible for unions to organize in Indiana. But he’s urged Republicans not to go ahead with their plans because he said their controversial nature would take the legislature off track.“I’ll also say I think it would have the potential — just tactically — to possibly reduce or wreck the chances for education reform and local government reform and criminal justice reform and the things we have a wonderful chance to do,” Daniels told the AP back in December.

This is not to say that Daniels is any kind of union fan. On his first day in office in 2005, Daniels did with one pen stroke what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is finding it harder and harder to do: end collective bargaining rights for thousands of state workers.

And as the Wisconsin drama has unfolded, Daniels has, like most potential 2012 GOP presidential contenders, come down squarely on the side of Walker.

“The most powerful special interests in America today are the government unions,” Daniels told NPR’s Diane Rehm this week.

Melissa Jeltsen contributed reporting.

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