Indiana law protecting workers’ free choice for union membership and dues payment still faces Big Labor legal challenge in state court
Hammond, IN (January 17, 2012) – A United States District Court Judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 lawyers challenging Indiana’s recently-enacted Right to Work law. Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement responding to the decision:
“Union bosses want to undo what thousands of Hoosier citizens have worked hard to achieve through the democratic process. Unfortunately for the IUOE, the constitutionality of state Right to Work laws has long been a settled question. We’re happy to report that Judge Simon rejected their frivolous arguments and ensured that millions of Indianans will continue to labor free from union coercion.”
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, representing four Indiana workers who support the Right to Work law, conferred with lawyers for the State of Indiana about the arguments that were made to defend the law.
The four Hoosier citizens who opposed the union’s legal challenge were David Bercot, a certified wastewater operator for the ITR Concession Company in Fort Wayne; Joel Tibbetts, a Minteq International assistant manager in Valparaiso; Douglas Richards, an employee with the Goshen-based Cequent Towing Products; and Larry Getts, a Dana Holding Corporation technician in Albion.
IUOE Local 150, headquartered in suburban Chicago, filed the lawsuit last February challenging Indiana’s Right to Work law and requesting an injunction against its implementation.
Judge Philip Simon dismissed all of the union’s claims, but he did not rule on arguments contesting the law on the grounds that it violates Indiana’s constitution, leaving that to state courts to decide. A United Steel Workers legal challenge based on different arguments is proceeding in Indiana state court, where two other Foundation-assisted employees have filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that the law is consistent with their state’s constitution.
Indiana is the nation’s 24th Right to Work state. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans support the Right to Work principle, including 80 percent of union members.