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Suit against right-to-work law says health care ruling should support its cause

Updated: July 9, 2012 10:42PM



Local plaintiffs suing Indiana over its new right-to-work legislation claim several recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court — including those dealing with immigration, health care and campaign finance — support their cause.

According to a motion filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers claims that these rulings should give further support for a judge not dismissing its lawsuit against the state.

Local 150, which is based in Illinois but oversees numerous local unions in Northwest Indiana, sued the state earlier this year, claiming that the new right-to-work legislation puts an unfair burden on employees who choose to pay dues.

It argued that employees who did not want to support certain activities of their union, such as political lobbying, could choose to pay for only bargaining and other causes that directly affected them.

The motion cites one of the recent Supreme Court rulings, in the case Knox v. Service Employees International Union Local 1000, as grounds for the right-to-work law infringing on union’s free speech rights.

“ ... The Indiana Right to Work law fails to accommodate the First Amendment rights of unions because it permits employees to become ‘free riders,’ ” the motion says.

As for the Supreme Court’s recent ruling over Arizona’s contentious immigration laws, the motion says the order gives support to federal labor law overriding local criminal penalties. Because the Federal Labor Relations Authority does not grant states the right to enact right-to-work law, then Indiana’s law is void, the motion argues.

It also cites the recent rulings on the federal health care law and campaign finance, saying that these rulings give support to the idea of allowing employees not to pay for political activity by the unions but to pay for things such as bargaining.

The state filed in March a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which has not been ruled on yet.



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