Continued from page 1

“It doesn’t come without a fight,” Long said. “It is a passionate issue and people don’t want to take that fight on.”

Meanwhile, the union backlash in other Rust Belt states in the last few months has emboldened opponents trying to bolster their defenses.

Wisconsin’s GOP-dominated Assembly passed a law backed by Gov. Scott Walker in March that strips nearly all collective bargaining rights from public-sector unions. Walker is now preparing for a recall election after opponents turned in a million signatures aimed at forcing a vote and ousting him from office. In November, Ohio voters repealed a law limiting collective bargaining rights that was championed by Gov. John Kasich and fellow Republican lawmakers.

Indiana right-to-work opponents won a second key victory in December, when Daniels switched his position on right-to-work. As a candidate for office, Daniels had promised Indiana Teamsters in 2004 he would oppose any effort to make Indiana a right-to-work state.

He explained his change as an evolution on the issue based on new facts and the ongoing problems.

“Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered,” Daniels said in a statement Wednesday.

For states without all the needed pieces, supporters have resorted to work-arounds and duct tape, in their efforts to ban mandatory union fees.

Missouri right-to-work supporters are attempting to skirt Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s almost certain veto by moving a version of the measure that would go straight to the voters for consideration.

Likewise, in Michigan, supporters are pushing a series of measures that opponents have dubbed “mini right-to-work.” A House committee controlled by Republicans approved a bill Tuesday that would require employees to annually renew their written consent allowing certain forms of union dues to be deducted from their paychecks.

The lead sponsor of New Hampshire’s right-to-work proposal, Rep. Will Smith, Republican of New Castle, has submitted a new version of the measure that would let public employees could opt out of joining a union but would then have them negotiate their own contracts.

Smith says he hopes the re-jiggered bill will win the few extra votes needed to overturn another likely veto from Lynch.

• Associated Press writers Glenn Adams in Augusta, Maine, Garrett Brnger in Concord, N.H., Tom Davies in Indianapolis, David Lieb in Jefferson City and Tim Martin in Lansing contributed to this report.