As we've informed you in previous legal updates, on February 1, 2012, Indiana became the nation's 23rd right-to-work state. The right-to-work law forbids companies and unions from agreeing on a contract that makes union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment. Recently, however, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which is based in Countryside, Illinois, filed a lawsuit against Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, seeking to invalidate the law.
In this lawsuit, the union claims that the right-to-work law violates the United States Constitution's equal protection clause by allowing workers to choose not to pay dues while other workers pay dues and support the expenses of union representation. The union also claims the law interferes with union security provisions in certain labor contracts in the building and construction industry.
It is highly unlikely that this lawsuit will affect Indiana's right-to-work law, as the National Labor Relations Act specifically permits states to enact laws of this nature, and no court has found a similar law unconstitutional on the equal protection grounds the union cites. Accordingly, this lawsuit should not change how Indiana employers deal with the law.