Wyatt Employment Law Report


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Indiana’s New “Right To Work” Law Survives Constitutional Challenge

By John W. Woodard, Jr.

A local union’s federal lawsuit challenging Indiana’s new “right to work” law on constitutional grounds has been dismissed.  In 2012, Indiana became the 23rd state to enact “right to work” legislation prohibiting “union security clauses” in union contracts with employers.  Many argue that union security clauses strengthen unions by conditioning employment on a worker joining the union or at least paying fees to the union.   “Right to work” laws, it is claimed, contribute to a business friendly environment, attract companies, and encourage job growth.  In an action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, the union contended the law was unconstitutional.  The district judge disagreed and dismissed the union’s lawsuit finding that “[n]one of the legal challenges launched by the Union … to attack Indiana’s new Right to Work law can succeed.”   The union has filed an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  A copy of the district court’s January 17, 2013 ruling can be found here: \\loufs1\users\EHOPSON\My Documents\IN Court Memo and Order.pdf.


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Indiana’s New Right-To-Work Law Challenged In Court

By John W. Woodard, Jr.

Indiana’s new business-friendly right-to-work law is being challenged in federal Court.  Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers has filed suit seeking to enjoin enforcement of the law claiming that it is both unconstitutional and pre-empted by federal labor law.  A Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is currently set for hearing on March 5, 2012, in the U.S. District Court at Hammond, Indiana.  The Union’s affidavit in support of its motion asserts, among other things, that “the ability to cease paying dues completely may prove too attractive for some of our members to resist.” 

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.