By Timothy Cox
The Statehouse File
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mitch Daniels received 1,700 pages of signatures Wednesday from people across Indiana who oppose right-to-work legislation — less than 24 hours after the governor endorsed the measure in his final State of the State Address.
Winchester retiree Fred Davis, 69, who collected signatures online over the past few weeks, asked Indiana State Police officers outside Daniels’ office to deliver the near 17,600 signatures to the governor.
Fred Davis, a member of the United Auto Workers union, speaks to reporters Wednesday afternoon. Davis collected 17,000 signatures in a petition against Indiana's proposed right to work legislation. Photo by Abigail Godwin.
“(Daniels is) telling us that it’s 2-1 for right to work. My petition from just a plain, old, union guy like me with 17,000 signatures on it says something different than that, so I challenged him,” Davis said. “Here’s my poll results. Show me yours.”
Davis was a union member during his 38 years in manufacturing. He never expected that his “little petition,” known as “ANTI right-to-work Indiana,” would gain the attention it has.
“I started out just going online, and I had a little petition I sent to my friends and my family and union brothers and sisters, and I asked if they could sign it,” Davis said.
Davis was contacted by MoveOn.org Civic Action.
With his permission, the organization moved Davis’ petition to SignOn.org, a MoveOn-sponsored website.
Davis delivered the petition’s signatures to Sen. Allen Paul, R-Richmond, and Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, last week.
“When I came down last week, there were about 9,800 signatures on it. Last night, when I sent it to get it authorized for a print-out, there were over 17,000,” Davis said.
Davis estimates that about 90 percent of the signatures are from Hoosiers. The remaining 10 percent are from out-of-state labor supporters.
Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott said the ANTI right-to-work Indiana petition is a “grassroots” effort and “another form of constituents talking to their representatives.”
“It’s supposed to be a representative democracy. People are supposed to listen to their constituents, and it’s clear in Indiana that Hoosiers don’t want this law,” Guyott said.
Davis will return to the Statehouse next week if he reaches 20,000 signatures.
The governor’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Timothy Cox is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.