Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels got a lot of attention late last year when he finally came out in favor of a Right to Work law. Now, Daniels is suggesting that Volkswagen, in part, is the reason.
Speaking on Inside INdiana Business Television last week, Daniels said he was frustrated that his state was losing opportunities to compete for projects to other states that had Right to Work laws, which prevent unions from collecting mandatory dues.
One such project, according to the governor, was the assembly plant that Volkswagen recently opened in Chattanooga, Tenn. “I couldn’t get VW to return our call,” the governor said. “We’ve won on Honda, we won on Toyota, we’re clearly the fastest growing automotive state, and we couldn’t even get them to talk to us.”
Daniels. by the way, is giving the Republican response tonight to President Obama’s state of the union address.
Daniels was referring to Honda’s assembly plant in Greensburg, which opened in 2008, as well as Toyota’s two production sites. Toyota builds vehicles at its own plant in Princeton, and shares production with Subaru at its plant in Lafayette.
Tony Cervone, a spokesman for Volkswagen of America, declined comment via email.
Daniels’ decision to support a Right to Work law has caused an escalating debate in Indiana. Democratic lawmakers initially refused to attend hearings, even in the face of $1,000 a day fines.
Daniels said in the interview that their protests are justified. “Both sides ought to be heard from. I think the Democrats are within their rights to make a gesture of how strongly they felt, and to say let’s stretch this out a little further. It’s a good process and we’ll accept whatever outcome that comes.”
As the debate continues, companies like Remy International in Pendleton are weighing whether to invest in Indiana, or move elsewhere. Stateline.org looked at the situation for Indiana’s companies and its political future.