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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit rules Indiana right-to-work law is not unconstitutional [Revised]

Here is the first report, from ABC and WRTV6.

The Indiana Supreme Court is considering the question on Thursday.

Here is the 59-page, 2-1 opinion in Sweeney v. Pence (ND Ind., Simon). Judge Tinder writes:

Plaintiff‐Appellants, members and officers of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL‐CIO (“the Union”) appeal the district court’s dismissal of their suit, arguing that the Indiana Right to Work Act violates their rights under the United States Constitution and is preempted by federal labor legislation. Because the legislation is not preempted by the scheme of federal labor law and does not violate any constitutional rights, we affirm the district court’s dismissal of the suit.
Chief Judge Wood's dissent begins on p. 32:
Today’s decision is either incorrect or it lays bare an unconstitutional confiscation perpetuated by our current system of labor law. In my view, the better view is the former: the majority has simply misunderstood the federal statutory scheme, taken as a whole. The plain language of section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not support such sweeping force for Indiana’s Right to Work law. IND. CODE § 22‐6‐6. No ruling of the Supreme Court has gone this far, and the legislative history of section 14(b) (for those who consider it relevant at all) is inconclusive. Even if, however, one thought that there were some ambiguity in the NLRA, the principle of constitutional avoidance provides a powerful reason to reject the majority’s holding. I would find sections 8(2) and 8(3) of Indiana’s statute, Ind. Code § 22‐6‐6‐8(2), (3), preempted by federal statute. I therefore respectfully dissent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 2, 2014 11:57 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions