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Union sues over right-to-work law

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A northern Indiana labor organization has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Mitch Daniels and other state actors over the recent enactment of legislation that made Indiana a “right-to-work” state.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO; and representatives and members of the union filed the suit Wednesday in federal court in Hammond.

Daniels signed the legislation into law Feb. 1. Section 8 of the law says that a person doesn’t have to join a union or pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment. The law, Indiana Code 22-6-6, took effect immediately for the building and construction industry, and the law applied to written or oral contracts entered into, modified or extended after March 14, 2012, in other areas.

Local 150 had and still has collective bargaining agreements in effect with building and construction industry employers in Indiana, according to the suit. The right-to-work law “substantially impairs the contractual relationships that Local 150 has with these building and construction industry employers,” the plaintiffs argue.

The suit alleges that the law violates equal protection under the federal and state constitutions, Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, and Article 1, sections 21 and 24 of the state constitution. The plaintiffs challenge the portion of the law that institutes criminal penalties for violating Section 8.

The plaintiffs want the court to declare that the right-to-work law is invalid in its entirety and prevent the state from enforcing the law.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who is named as a defendant in the suit, said in a release shortly after the case was filed that the office will “diligently” defend the law, as is the office’s duty.

“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,” he said.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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