WASHINGTON -- A labor union is using Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' (R) high-profile speech on Tuesday night to remind viewers of the governor's change of heart on controversial right-to-work legislation.
Daniels will be giving the official GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union message on Tuesday.
In his own state, Daniels and the GOP-controlled state legislature are locked in a standoff with Democrats over right to work, which would bar unions from automatically collecting dues from workers' paychecks at private companies.
The Indiana AFL-CIO will begin airing a new television ad on the issue across the state during evening broadcasts and nationally on CNN and MSNBC on Tuesday in conjunction with the State of the Union.
The ad, called "What," will contrast his current support for right to work with the fact that in the past, he spoke out against such legislation.
"We cannot afford to have civil wars over issues that might divide us and divert us from that path. I have said over and over, I'll say it again tonight: I'm a supporter of the labor laws we have in the state of Indiana," he said in a speech to the Teamsters 135 Union Stewards Dinner on Sept. 23, 2006. "I'm not interested in changing any of it. Not the prevailing wage laws, and certainly not the right to work law. We can succeed in Indiana with the laws we have, respecting the rights of labor, and fair and free competition for everybody."
"As Governor Daniels prepares to give the national Republican response to the State of the Union, this is an opportunity to show the nation just how far he's strayed from the Hoosier values he once claimed to represent," said Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott. "He has gone from opposing partisan right-to-work legislation that he said was bad for Indiana to flip-flopping on the issue now that he's more interested in becoming a right-wing darling and doing the bidding of his undisclosed donors."
Daniels' office has admitted that he did once believe Indiana did not need to change its labor laws, but he has since shifted his position.
"[T]wo things in particular have changed his mind and led to his support of right to work legislation: Indiana misses many job opportunities and the significant downturn in the national economy," Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski recently told The Huffington Post.