Muskogee, Okla. (January 22, 2002) – Enjoying free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, workers from three different Oklahoma companies have filed formally in federal court to join Governor Frank Keating in defending Oklahoma’s new Right to Work constitutional amendment against multi-union attack.

The employees argue that if the unions prevail in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism they will suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association.

The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma voters in enacting State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay any union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states.

“Despite the personal risks they face in publicly opposing the state’s most powerful union officials, these employees feel so strongly that they have decided to stand beside Governor Keating in federal court to face down this multi-union lawsuit,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “The Right to Work law is not just about economic growth and creation of high-paying jobs, it’s about protecting individual rights and reducing union corruption and abuse.”

The employees are filing with the court as “defendant intervenors” which will ensure that they can file briefs and make arguments in court to defend their direct financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, Governor Keating’s primary legal responsibility is to protect the interest of the public at large in a law passed by electoral referendum.

The three employees are Kent Duvall, an employee of United Parcel Service, Michelle McKenzie, an employee of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, and Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company.

Motions for summary judgment will be filed by the parties on or before January 31, 2002.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in around 250 cases nationwide per year.

Posted on Jan 22, 2002 in News Releases