Agency considers rules regarding enforcement of new law, workers argue for strong rules to ease enforcement of workers’ Right to Work protections
Indianapolis, IN (July 11, 2012) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, two Indiana workers filed formal comments with the Indiana Department of Labor (DOL) in support of their newly-enacted Right to Work freedoms as the agency drafts regulations for the enforcement of the law.
Douglas Richards, an employee with Goshen-based Cequent Towing Products and David Brubaker, who works for Georgia Pacific, filed their comments this morning.
Both Richards's and Brubaker's workplaces are unionized by the United Steel Workers (USW) union hierarchy. Both workers have refrained from union membership. However, they are still forced to accept USW union officials' so-called "representation," and are required to pay dues to the union as a condition of employment, until their employers' old contracts with the union expire.
In their comments, the workers contend that job applicants are properly included under Indiana's Right to Work protections and that the proposed 90 day statute of limitations on violations of the Right to Work law should be extended to two years. They also suggest that the regulations make it more clear that union officials can be held accountable for violating workers' Right to Work protections, among other changes to the proposed rules.
In May, the two workers filed an amicus curiae brief to defend their Right to Work protections from a frivolous USW union legal challenge in state court. The anti-Right to Work lawsuit makes a number of dubious claims about Indiana's new law, including the argument that unions have a right to force workers to pay for their unwanted services.
Brubaker and Richards stated in their court brief that union monopoly bargaining agreements that force nonmember employees to subsidize union activities – such as the agreements both workers are currently subject to under the USW union hierarchy – infringe on their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association.
"These two workers stand steadfast in support of their newly-enacted Right to Work freedoms," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We are pleased to help them and all of Indiana’s workers exercise their rights under Indiana's Right to Work law during this transition and in the future."
A Foundation staff attorney testified before the Indiana DOL about the proposed Right to Work regulations yesterday.
Twenty-three states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.