Archive

In defeat for unions, Indiana’s top court upholds right-to-work law | TribLIVE.com
News

In defeat for unions, Indiana’s top court upholds right-to-work law

The Indiana Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the state’s right-to-work law, which bars employers from requiring workers to join unions or pay union dues as a condition of employment, in a victory for business groups.

The 5-0 decision Thursday reversed a lower court ruling that had found the law violated Indiana’s constitution.

Prior to the law’s adoption in 2012, there had been protests by hundreds of union supporters outside the statehouse in the capital of Indianapolis.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had defended the law, while plaintiffs including Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), which represents about 4,000 workers in northwest Indiana, had opposed it.

“We are deeply disappointed,” said James Sweeney, Local 150’s president and business manager, in a statement. “Because this decision is based on what we firmly believe to be a misinterpretation of federal law, we will consider petitioning the United States Supreme Court to hear this case.”

In a statement, Zoeller said the decision “confirmed that the people’s elected representatives in the legislature were within their legal authority to craft an economic policy prohibiting involuntary union dues.”

On Sept. 2, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Chicago also let the law stand.

That court said that 24 states had some form of a right-to-work law, most with language resembling Indiana’s.

In the state case, a state court judge in Lake County had concluded that the Indiana Right to Work Law violated a state constitutional ban against forcing anyone to provide “particular services,” such as union representation for non-members, without being paid.

A violation would be deemed a misdemeanor.

Writing for the Indiana Supreme Court, however, Justice Brent Dickson said the right-to-work law “merely prohibits employers from requiring union membership or the payment of monies as a condition of employment.”

He concluded: “Any compulsion to provide services does not constitute a demand made by the State of Indiana.”


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.