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Right to Work: Changes in Louisiana's Political Landscape (2010)

McLeod Lecture Series



Genre: Panel

Place Covered: Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2010-05-7

Duration: 00:57:06

Subjects: Filmed panel discussions | Politics | Government | Louisiana. Legislature | Louisiana Legislative Session, 1976 | RIGHT TO WORK | Louisiana Association of Business and Industry | STEIMEL, ED | Bussie, Victor V., 1919-2011 | Louisiana AFL-CIO | Labor | Unions | MOUTON, EDGAR G. "SONNY" | Edwards, Edwin W. | Economy | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Public opinion | Barham, E. Edwards, 1937-2014 | Thompson, Mike, 1942- | Barthelemy, Sidney | State legislators | MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY


  • Courtney, Beth Moderator
  • Laudun, Tika Producer
  • Sanford, Shauna Reporter
  • Steimel, Ed Interviewee
  • Bussie, Victor Interviewee
  • Schneider, Dick Interviewee
  • Bella, V.J. Interviewee
  • Barham, Edwards Panelist
  • Thompson, Mike Panelist
  • Barthelemy, Sidney Panelist
  • Kurth, Michael Panelist
  • Hill, John Panelist


This episode of the “McLeod Lecture Series” from May 7, 2010, features moderator Beth Courtney leading a discussion on the heated battle over the passage of Right to Work legislation during the 1976 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. The law allows any worker to get a job without being required to belong to a union. The panelists are: former State Senator Edwards Barham; former State Representative Mike Thompson; former State Senator Sidney Barthelemy; Dr. Michael Kurth, a McNeese State University economist; and John Hill, a former journalist. They discuss: the atmosphere in the State Capitol during the debate; the surprising passage of the bill; the effect of right to work legislation on the economy; the decrease in union membership; the lobbying battle between Ed Steimel of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) and Victor Bussie of the Louisiana AFL-CIO; State Senator Sonny Mouton’s impassioned speech on the Senate floor; Governor Edwin Edwards’ position on the issue; and public opinion on right to work. Their discussion is preceded by a background report prepared by Shauna Sanford on the Right to Work debate, including interviews with Ed Steimel of LABI, Victor Bussie of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, Dick Schneider, a lobbyist for LABI, and former State Representative V.J. Bella. The McLeod Lecture Series event is a part of the McNeese State University Banners Series.