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Monday, September 09, 2013
Ind. Decisions - "Lake Co. judge rules Indiana's right-to-work law unconstitutional "
Elvia Malagon reports in the NWI Times this evening:
HAMMOND | A Lake County superior court judge has ruled Indiana's right-to-work law unconstitutional but the decision doesn't mark the end of the law's legal battle.From Christin Nance Lazerus of the Gary Post-Tribune, this story:
Judge John Sedia ruled the law unconstitutional last week because the state constitution calls for just compensation for services, according to an order. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in February 2013 when members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 AFL-CIO, argued the law violated the constitution.
The Indiana attorney general's office said Monday in an email that the state plans to immediately appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. The state called the judgement incorrect because the judge did dismiss four other counts in the lawsuit.
According to court records, the law makes it a criminal offense for unions to receive compensation for services the federal law requires them to provide to employees even if they aren't dues-paying members.
The portion of the constitution Sedia cites as conflicting with the law states that no one's services can be demanded without just compensation, according to the state's constitution.
Indiana was the 23rd state to pass a right-to-work law which states that no employer, labor group or person can require an individual to be part of a labor group, pay dues or fees as a condition for employment, according to the state's website.
HAMMOND — Indiana’s “right to work” law has been declared unconstitutional by a Lake County Judge.ILB: From the Indiana Constitution:
Lake Superior Court Civil Division Judge John Sedia issued the ruling in a lawsuit brought by Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and several of its individual members.
The union lawsuit had alleged the law was unconstitutional for five different reasons but the judge, in a ruling filed last week, agreed with them on only one: that by preventing the union from collecting fees from non-union members to cover the cost of bargaining and other services, the law violated the Indiana constitution. * * *
Unions are obligated under federal law to represent workers in their bargaining units, whether they are dues-paying members or not, the judge wrote.
“”Put simply,” Sedia wrote, the state law means that “it becomes a criminal offense for a union to receive just compensation for particular services federal law demands it provide to employees.” * * *
He also noted that “there is no court which is more loathe to declare any state statute unconstitutional than this one,” but that he had “no choice but to find” that the law violates Article I, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution.
Section 21. No person' s particular services shall be demanded, without just compensation. No person' s property shall be taken by law, without just compensation; nor, except in case of the State, without such compensation first assessed and tendered.From these news reports, this opinion would seem to require that a union be considered a "person" under Art. 1, sec. 21 of the Indiana Constitution. In another part of the Constitution, however, the phrase "person, association or corporation" is used, implying that the Constitution's drafters intended a distinction between these entities.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 9, 2013 09:31 PM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions