By John W. Woodard
The legal challenge to Indiana’s new business-friendly right-to-work law may be short lived. Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers sued in federal court claiming the law is both unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal labor law. The Union has withdrawn its motion for a TRO enjoining enforcement of the law, and the Indiana Attorney General’s office recently filed a motion to dismiss the case. The A.G.’s supporting memorandum of law (http://www.wyattfirm.com/uploads/92/doc/Right%20To%20Work%20Memo.pdf ) presents compelling arguments for dismissal – not the least of which being that the United States Supreme Court has validated similar legislation in other states. See, e.g., Lincoln Fed. Labor Union No. 19129, A.F. of L. v. Nw. Iron & Metal Co., 335 U.S. 525, 532 (1949).
Right-to-work laws prohibit provisions in union contracts which force non-member employees in unionized workplaces to pay “fair share” fees for a union’s collective bargaining efforts and representation. Indiana is the 23rd state to adopt business-friendly right-to-work legislation, and it is the first state to have done so since Oklahoma in 2001.
Governor Mitch Daniels says the state has heard from a number of companies considering Indiana for location or expansion because of its business-friendly right-to-work law, and Indiana has reportedly signed agreements with at least three companies since the law’s passage.