A while back, I reported that labor was looking at filing a lawsuit to block Right to Work. Well, they did.
In a news release put out late Wednesday afternoon, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed suit in federal court claiming RTW violates for the state and federal constitutions. The are seeking a temporary restraining order.
RTW prohibits an employee from being forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment.
In their release, the unions make the following arguments…
- RTW violates the “Contracts Clause” of the U.S. Constitution’s Article 1 in that it substantially impairs contractual relationships by forbidding longstanding union security clauses and payment of fees in exchange for representation.
- RTW violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s “Equal Protection” clause by treating similar classes of workers differently.
- By allowing workers to opt out of paying dues, dues paying members would bear the entire cost of providing representation, and a smaller amount of their payment would be available for use representing them.
- By forbidding public works employees from opting out of membership or payment of dues or fees, the State of Indiana requires those workers to bear an increased burden of paying for services rendered to workers given the option not to pay dues or fees.
- By allowing Local 150 to charge fees to construction workers but not workers in other industries, the State of Indiana fails to provide equal protection.
- RTW violates Article 1, Section 21 of Indiana’s Constitution, which states that “no person’s particular services shall be taken by law without just compensation.” By forcing unions to provide equal representation, as required under the National Labor Relations Act, to workers who pay nothing, the state is demanding services which constitute a property interest to the union’s members.
- RTW is pre-empted by federal labor law insofar as federal law allows unions to collect fees and that activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act is criminalized under RTW.
- RTW violates state and federal ex post facto laws by declaring agreements in place on the day RTW was signed illegal and criminally punishable.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement regarding the suit.
“Legal challenges are part of the process to test whether laws are constitutional. Though we respect the right of private plaintiffs to disagree with this new law, the State’s position is that the Legislature was within its authority to create a new policy concerning mandatory union dues. My office’s duty is to defend the laws the Legislature passes and we will do so diligently here.