Two Judges Have Now Ruled Against Indiana’s Right to Work Law

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO): Two judges have now ruled against Indiana‘s right to work law.

Lake County Circuit Judge George Paras ruled this week that the law passed in 2012 violates the Indiana Constitution's ban on demanding services without just compensation, and said his ruling would take effect immediately. However, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office would ask for the ruling to be delayed since the Indiana Supreme Court will hear an appeal of another ruling against the law from Lake County. Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia also ruled the law unconstitutional, but he issued a stay of the ruling pending an appeal.

Supporters of the law say workers at businesses where employees are represented by a union should not be forced to pay union dues if they are not union members. They argue that businesses are more likely to create jobs in right to work states. But a labor law expert says unions claim they are forced to spend money on workers who are not union members. “Under federal labor law, unions are required to represent every member of a unit, whether they are a union member or not,” said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, professor of labor and employment law at IU's Maurer School of Law.

In other states, unions and businesses get around this issue with individual agreements. “The union and the employer can agree that, as a condition of employment, all employees have to pay for at least the cost of their representation in collective bargaining. No one can compel union membership – that violates federal law,” Dau-Schmidt said. He adds that one problem judges may be finding with Indiana‘s law is a criminal provision for those types of agreements. “A right to work law makes those fair share agreements unenforceable, and the Indiana law went so far as to make them a Class A misdemeanor.”

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the state's appeal of the first ruling against the right to work law September 4.