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Friday, Jul 15, 2016, 5:02 pm

Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers

BY Kali Robinson

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is Trump's VP pick (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)  

Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should have workers worried.

“Mike Pence has waged repeated attacks on working Hoosiers as governor and will without a doubt continue the attacks alongside his anti-worker running mate Donald Trump who is ‘100 percent right to work,’” said Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, shortly after news of the announcement broke Friday.

Indiana became a right-to-work state under Pence’s predecessor, but Pence has worked to make sure it stays that way.

Under the law, unions cannot collect fees from non-members who take advantage of unions’ grievance or bargaining services, and are essentially providing these services without compensation.

Two local judges ruled that the law violated the state’s Constitution, causing the Indiana Department of Labor to stop enforcing the law briefly. Pence defended its legality. And in 2014, Indiana’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s right-to-work law.

Pence has also taken a stand against raising the minimum wage to livable levels, opposing a bill that would have raised Indiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25. Instead, Pence signed into law a bill prohibiting local governments from forcing businesses to raise minimum wages unless mandated by the state or federal government.

Pence also signed a law repealing Indiana’s common construction wage, leaving wages on publicly-funded construction projects at the mercy of free-market pay scales rather than in the hands of local boards composed of taxpayers or contractors.

In a further blow to workers’ rights, Pence lent his support to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying that the deal would allow Indiana to “enjoy increased market access and fairly compete on the world stage.”

Most labor unions opposed TPP, arguing that it would allow for currency manipulation that increases America’s trade deficit and hurts manufacturing jobs.

Following news of Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Voorhies wrote that while he was relieved Pence would be out of Indiana’s governor's race, the Republican Party could not be allowed to win the presidency in November.

“Mike Pence is running away from the people of Indiana and into the arms of Donald Trump, and the pair could not be more perfect for each other,” he said. “Trump and Pence are both driven by a divisive political agenda that focuses more on ideologies than actual practical solutions to the issues plaguing working people.”

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Kali Robinson is a 2016 In These Times editorial intern. She is a journalism student at Northwestern University and is on Twitter @Professor_Kali.

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