Biz News Wire Reuters Spins Passage of Ind. Right-to-Work Bill with Liberal/Union Talking Points

The passage of "controversial" right-to-work legislation in Indiana is a "blow to organized labor." That's the spin by Reuters reporter Susan Guyett, who front-loaded her coverage of the bill's passage by focusing on anger from liberals and labor unions over the new legislation (emphases mine):

Indiana became the 23rd state to pass anti-union "right-to-work" legislation on Wednesday and the first in the nation's manufacturing heartland, dealing a blow to organized labor by allowing workers to opt out of paying union dues.

Indiana's Republican governor Mitch Daniels signed the legislation into law immediately after it was given final approval in the state Senate, making Indiana the first state to adopt such a measure since Oklahoma did so a decade ago.

Daniels, governor since 2005 and a prominent spokesman for Republicans nationally, said he decided Indiana needed the controversial new law after several businesses decided to locate elsewhere.


"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," he said in a statement after signing the bill.

Indiana is being closely watched by both major political parties in the presidential election debate over job creation and reviving the U.S. economy.

The Indiana state Senate vote of 28 to 22 was followed by calls of "shame, shame" from members of the public outside the chamber. Opponents of right-to-work call it "union busting" and say it will lower the wages of workers.

It wasn't until the 10th paragraph that Guyett quoted one of the bill's sponsors who explained what exactly the bill does (emphases mine):

Republican state Senator Carlin Yoder, the bill's main sponsor, said it would not prevent anyone from joining a union.

"It is simply allowing those individuals to decide for themselves if they want to pay union dues or not," Yoder said during the floor debate on Wednesday.

The Reuters piece provided liberal newspapers with a quick opportunity for copy-and-pasting a drive-by hit on Indiana's conservatives. For example, today's Washington Post excerpted from Guyett's Reuters story, but failed to include Yoder's defense of the bill and presented readers of its page A3 national news digest a thoroughly-skewed presentation of the issue (emphases mine):

‘Right to work’ bill becomes law

Indiana on Wednesday became the 23rd U.S. state to pass “right to work” legislation and the first in the nation’s manufacturing heartland, dealing a blow to labor by allowing workers to opt out of paying union dues.

Indiana’s Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, signed the legislation into law after it was approved, in a vote of 28 to 22, by the state Senate, making Indiana the first state to adopt such a measure since Oklahoma did so a decade ago.

Opponents say the measure will weaken unions and lower workers’ wages. The vote drew thousands of protesters to the state capital in Indianapolis.

Daniels said he decided Indiana needed the new law after several businesses moved out of the state.

— Reuters

While right-to-work is fundamentally about empowering individual's rights in the labor market, the liberal media are busy coloring the issue in ways that downplay or negate the issue as one of personal liberty.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters