In Midwest, GOP Shrinks From Union Battles

The Republicans who control Minnesota’s Legislature have pushed a gay marriage ban and moved to expand gun rights. But like other Republican lawmakers across the Midwest, they’re split over a move to water down the strength of organized labor with a right-to-work law.

The issue is pitting Republican against Republican in state Capitols in many Rust Belt states. While conservatives see a prime opportunity, some Republicans worry about triggering union protests that would motivate Democratic voters and put the party’s 2010 electoral gains at risk.

The passage of a right-to-work law in Indiana earlier this year emboldened supporters in states like Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. But the effort has stalled in each as prominent Republicans including several governors have questioned the wisdom of proceeding.