Gov. Daniels: This is about bringing jobs to our state

Indiana governor on right-to-work, backlash from unions, critics


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: All right, listen, Tom and Eli, we all know how hard you have been working for Sunday’s Super Bowl game, but the biggest fight that day may not be inside Lucas Oil Stadium. It could be outside.

Union workers say that they are planning to protest at the Super Bowl because my next guest really ticked them off, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

Governor, the ink is barely dry on your Indiana right-to-work law and these union guys are fuming and hoping to upset the Super Bowl. What say you?

GOV. MITCH DANIELS, R-IND.: I wouldn’t be sure that will happen. In fact, I predict it won’t for various reasons.

First of all, controversies at Super Bowls aren’t new. There had a lot bigger one, honestly, in Arizona when the immigration bill out there was so very much a topic of discussion.

But out here there are designated areas for people who want to be heard on any subject. And I suspect they will probably use those and be very careful really not to hurt their cause further by tainting what has been a spectacularly fun and successful event.

CAVUTO: All right, what they are saying, though, is you are in a nice way trying to pull what Scott Walker, your counterpart in Wisconsin, did and shut down unions. What do you say?

DANIELS: Not at all.

This law is aimed only at one segment of society, and those are the folks without jobs. Indiana has got by every reckoning the fifth or sixth best business climate in the country now. And now it just got a little better. The phone began ringing literally yesterday afternoon from companies we hadn’t heard from before.

And so this was about bringing more jobs to our state. Folks have been unnecessarily and incorrectly alarmed in some cases. No one will lose a nickel of pay and no one’s benefits are going down. The right to organize and bargain is intact.

But now workers will have freedom, which -- by the way, Neil, noise is not numbers and fewer than 9 percent of Indiana workers belong to a union and many of them do not disagree with the right-to-work principle. And across the whole state, a huge majority believes it is the right thing to do.

There was a Rasmussen poll this week by the way nationally which found 74 percent in favor of letting the worker decide whether to pay the dues or not. I think we have had a good debate here, and people have exercised their rights appropriately. But we are moving forward and I hope that our opponents will do the same.

CAVUTO: Your Illinois counterpart, the governor, the Democratic governor, is not too keen on what you are doing. Of course, he hasn’t been too keen when you have been trying to woo workers to your state from his state. I guess that generally doesn’t go down well.

But do you think that this is a tempest in a teapot? In other words, leaving aside the border state battles here, that it develops into something, as I said, Scott Walker is experiencing now, it just galvanizes unions and it might even get so far as a recall vote? You know, it gets its own sort of head of foam.

DANIELS: I understand why union leadership views this as a major deal.

It could result, maybe, in a little less money or less political clout for them. But, to be honest, I have never said it was a game changer, only an improvement, a real improvement in our attractiveness as a place for new jobs. And on the other side, many of these alarms which have been raised will not happen. And as people see that they don’t, I believe that those who are exercised about it will relax.

CAVUTO: What did you think of Donald Trump supporting Governor Romney today?

DANIELS: Free country. And it may be of some interest in places like Nevada, where he has employees and an interest, but just one more voice.

CAVUTO: If you ever would run for president -- I know you nixed it early on, even though a lot of your supporters to this day, by the way, would try to push you into the race. Is that support that you would seek out?

DANIELS: Oh, I think Governor Romney and all the other candidates are right to welcome support from anyone at this time.

And, Neil, my view is that given the dangers facing this current and the urgent need to move against our debt problems, the stagnation of our economy, we need our candidates together, everybody’s support, really to speak the language of unity, at least about our biggest national challenges.

So, sure, each of these candidates ought to be trying to get the endorsement and help of anybody who might help build eventually a coalition. The important thing is not to win an election. The important thing is to have a sufficient cross-section of Americans ready to support the action we need after the election.

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you. Very good to see you again.

DANIELS: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Governor Daniels.

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