Right-to-work law back in court 

By Mary Kuhlman
click to enlarge The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases Thursday regarding the constitutionality of the state's 'right to work' law. - GRETA M. SCODRO/INDIANA COURTS.
  • The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases Thursday regarding the constitutionality of the state's 'right to work' law.
  • Greta M. Scodro/Indiana Courts.

Days after a federal appeals court upheld the state's 'right to work' law, the Indiana Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today (Thursday) in two cases challenging the law.

The 2012 law bars making union dues a condition of employment, and allows people to join unions without paying any fee. Ed Maher with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 calls it an unfair situation for unions, because they can be forced to use dues from paying members to provide services for workers who do not pay a union fee.

"If somebody opted out of their union membership and stopped paying dues, and then they were fired from their job for a reason they believe was unjust, they could ask the union to take up their cause in court," explains Maher. "If the union failed to do that, they could be brought up on fair representation charges."

On Tuesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state law does not wrongfully take property from unions and it is not pre-empted by federal law. Today, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in cases from the International Operating Engineers Union and the United Steelworkers Union, challenging the law on state constitutional grounds. According to the Indiana state constitution, no person's particular services should be taken without just compensation.

Maher says the law makes it more difficult for unions to negotiate fair wages and benefits for Indiana workers. He claims that so-called 'right to work' is not about worker freedom, but about weakening unions by taking money from paying members.

"In any non-right to work state, a worker has the option to opt out of union membership," he says. "A worker has the option of opting out of paying full union dues. So this law doesn't offer any new rights. You know it's quite a creative name, whoever came up with it was pretty clever, but all it does is try to weaken unions."

Supporters of 'right to work' disagree, and say mandating employees to pay fees is forced unionizing. About half of the 50 states currently have 'right to work' laws on the books.

Readers also liked…

Around the Web


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

This Week's Flyers

About The Author

Indiana News Service

Indiana News Service is an offshoot of Public News Service, "news in the public interest," which grew out of the founders' concern about media consolidation. Here's a little more from their Website: To support democracy and promote public dialogue in a rapidly changing media environment, Public News Service (PNS)... more

Today's Best Bets | All of today's events

Around the Web

All contents copyright © 2016 NUVO Inc.
3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Website powered by Foundation