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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ind. Decisions - County judge declares state staute unconstitutional and the State complies

Updating this ILB post from Aug. 20th, Dan Carden reported this weekend in the NWI Times:

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Department of Labor no longer is enforcing the state's right-to-work law that two Lake County judges ruled unconstitutional, but Gov. Mike Pence believes it's only a matter of time before the labor law is back on the books.

"We really do believe, given other court decisions, that Indiana's right-to-work law is on a solid constitutional and legal foundation," Pence said. "We continue to support efforts to defend that law."

The Republican said Friday similar laws in other states have survived court challenges and he expects the Indiana Supreme Court will overrule the Lake County judges and conclude the Hoosier law also is valid.

However, Pence dodged when pressed to explain why other states' right-to-work rulings are relevant when Lake Superior Judge John Sedia and Lake Circuit Judge George Paras both found Indiana's right-to-work law violates the Indiana Constitution.

"That's a really good question for the attorney general and for the lawyers," Pence said. "What I can tell you is that we're very confident that the right-to-work law that was passed in Indiana just a few years back is on a solid legal and constitutional foundation."

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Sept. 4 in the state's appeal of Sedia's 2013 ruling that found the right-to-work law -- which requires unions provide bargaining and grievance services free to nonmembers employed at a unionized workplace -- violates the state constitution's guarantee of compensation for services.

That hearing could be postponed if the high court decides to consolidate the right-to-work challenges brought by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, and United Steelworkers, which represents more than 5,000 steel mill employees in Northwest Indiana.

Either way, the Indiana Department of Labor halted enforcement of the right-to-work law July 17 after Paras ruled it unconstitutional. Unlike Sedia, last week Paras refused to stay his ruling pending appeal.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 24, 2014 01:01 PM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions