Indiana Supreme Court upholds right-to-work law

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that two sections of the state’s right-to-work law do not violate the Indiana Constitution. A Lake County judge declared the challenged statutory provisions unconstitutional in 2013.

Plaintiffs Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO and several of its members and officers sought a declaratory judgment that the right-to-work law violates several portions of the state constitution.

Lake Superior Judge John M. Sedia held that I.C. 22-6-6-8 and 22-6-6-10 violate Article I, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution. The judge found that “the effect of IC 22-6-6-8 and IC 22-6-6-10 under the current, long-standing federal labor law, is to demand particular services without just compensation,” and thus violates Section 21.

On appeal, the State and the union dispute whether the challenged provisions of the RTW law constitute a demand by the state for particular services under Section 21.

“Any compulsion to provide services does not constitute a demand made by the State of Indiana,” Justice Brent Dickson wrote in Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General and Rick J. Ruble, Commissioner of the In. Dept. of Labor v. James M. Sweeney, David A. Fagan, Charles Severs et. al., 45S00-1309-PL-596.

Justice Robert Rucker concurred in result with a separate opinion, writing there may be a case that if properly presented and proven could demonstrate that a union has actually been deprived of compensation for particular services by application of the right-to-work law, so as to that union, the statute would be unconstitutional.

“However, this is not that case,” he wrote.


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