Soon after Indiana’s right-to-work law took effect on March 14, 2012, the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO challenged the law in federal and state court. The Union’s suit challenged the law’s requirement that unions provide non-members with services without receiving compensation on constitutional grounds.
In the federal case, Sweeney v. Pence, Judge Simon for the US District Court of the Northern District of Indiana issued a ruling dismissing the Union’s lawsuit in January of 2013. The Union appealed and in a split decision issued on Sept. 2, 2014, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that the law’s provisions do not violate union’s rights under the U.S. Constitution. The majority also concluded that the law is not preempted by federal labor law.
This decision is another “win” for employers, but the issues surrounding the law are still not fully settled. The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Union’s parallel state court claim attacking the right to work law on Indiana Constitutional grounds on Sept. 4, 2014. In that case, the highest court in Indiana must consider whether to uphold a Lake County judge’s ruling that the law violated the Indiana Constitution.
Stay tuned for more updates.