KOKOMO, Ind. -- The head of the United Auto Workers was in Indiana Monday, urging union members to vote for Democratic Senate candidate Evan Bayh.
The big Chrysler and GM parts plants in Kokomo make its United Auto Workers local the largest in Indiana and Ohio, with around 7,000 members. UAW president Dennis Williams told a group of them he hasn't always agreed with Bayh. But he said this year, the Democrat's pro-labor history sets him apart -- Bayh passed collective bargaining as Indiana governor in the 1980s.
"And the fact that you give people the right to have a voice in the workplace -- that's the content of somebody's character," Williams said.
Under Bayh's Republican successors, collective bargaining gave way to measures that weakened union power, like Right to Work. Those are not likely to be repealed next year, but Williams still argued that Bayh would be a good national ally for Indiana labor -- as opposed to his Republican rival, Congressman Todd Young.
Indiana's unions are already working together to get out the vote. For now, the UAW is focused on the gubernatorial and senate races in canvassing and phone banking efforts. It also joined other unions in endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.