Evaluating the success of the policy depends on where you sit.
“It’s helped us in a thousand ways. It was absolutely central to our turnaround here,” Mr. Daniels said in an interview. Without union contracts to slow him down, he said, it has been easy for him to merge the procurement operations of numerous state agencies, saving millions of dollars. One move alone — outsourcing and consolidating food service operations for Indiana’s 28 prisons — has saved the state $100 million since 2005, he said. Such moves led to hundreds losing their jobs.
For state workers in Indiana, the end of collective bargaining also meant a pay freeze in 2009 and 2010 and higher health insurance payments. Several state employees said they now paid $5,200 a year in premiums, $3,400 more than when Mr. Daniels took office, though there are cheaper plans available. Earlier in his tenure, Mr. Daniels adopted a merit pay system, with some employees receiving no raises and those deemed to be top performers getting up to 10 percent.
Andrea Helm, an employee at a children’s home in Knightstown, Ind., said that soon after collective bargaining was ended and the union contract expired, coveted seniority preferences disappeared. “I saw a lot of employees who had 20, 30 years on the job fired,” she said. “I think they were trying to cut the more expensive people on top to make their budget smaller.”