Home / General / Indiana Right-to-Work-A Man-to-Death-Law, 1958

Indiana Right-to-Work-A Man-to-Death-Law, 1958


By chance, I came across this article in the October 22, 1958 edition of the International Woodworker:

The following item is for the attention of those who claim that organized labor is wrong when it says that so-called “right to work” laws are aimed at weakening unions and destroying labor standards.

It concerns a letter from a housewife to the editor of the Indianapolis Star in the “right-to-work” state of Indiana. The letter was written by Mrs. Patricia Bolen of Nashville, Ind., wife of a carpenter. Mrs. Bolen wrote:

“I pooh-poohed when the right-to-work was first called a mankiiller. But it is. The man I love is being killed by it. He is a carpenter, strong, capable, hard-working, able to do three men’s work, which he does. Thereby, he keeps his job, luckier than most carpenters these days.

“He retains his job by doing man-killing work, but the rest of the crew is fired each Friday. A fresh group is brought in on Monday. There is no longer a union steward whose job it used to be to see that the company provided fresh drinking water, toilet facilities, a place to change and keep dry clothes, safety precautions, etc.

“My man comes home each day thirsty, soaking wet and heartsick because eager, hard-working family men on the job are being laid off when they can’t double or triple their output. This is not an isolated case.

“I am a school teacher. I address this to other teachers, office workers, business people, and others who know first hand what the “Handley law” really is–a right-to-work-a-man-to-death law. I plead for its repeal.”

By Handley, Mrs. Bolen referred to Republican Governor Harold Handley, who, after telling labor leaders he would veto a so-called “right-to-work” law if passed, flipflopped and let it become a law.

Today, Indiana workers are again facing a right-to-work-a-man-to-death law. It’s time we paid more attention to this attack upon working people.

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