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Lake County judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work law

Associated Press
July 23, 2014
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A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012.

Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state constitution by forcing unions to provide services to workers without payment. He wrote in his July 17 ruling that the law was immediately "null and void". Paras determined that the state interjected itself into a federal requirement that unions represent all workers -- whether they pay union fees or not -- when it established criminal penalties for violating the right-to-work law.

The United Steelworkers, which lobbied unsuccessfully against the law in 2011 and 2012, filed the suit against the state.

Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to ban unions from charging mandatory fees for representation in February 2012; later that year, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder rushed through legislation making Michigan the 24th state to ban the fees. Indiana's extensive battle on the issue drew thousands of protesters to the Statehouse between 2011 and 2012.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Wednesday he would appeal and seek an immediate stay of the ruling.

"Strong opinions exist on both sides about involuntary union dues, but the Attorney General's Office has a duty to defend the laws the Legislature passes," Zoeller said in a statement Wednesday.

Lake County Superior Court Judge John Sedia judge struck down the law last fall in a separate case, but stayed it from taking effect. That case is now being considered by the Indiana Supreme Court.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, representing northwest Indiana, filed the suit being considered by the state's high court and praised the decision in the sister lawsuit Wednesday.

"We applaud the decision of the Court and congratulate the Steelworkers on successfully dealing another blow to Indiana's ill-conceived 'right to work' law," IUOE Local 150 president-business manager James M. Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday evening.

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  • for crying out loud IBJ. This needs to STOP
    Make it harder for people to impersonate someone and get rid of these trolls. Force commentators to set up their own accounts so they cant just willy nilly troll around anonymously and easily.
  • Me too
    All this means is that more Lake County union jobs will be South Carolina non-union jobs sooner rather than later. I really wish the Union Yes crowd could string two coherent thoughts together before the last manufacturing job leaves the Midwest.
  • Wrong
    Leave it to a Lake Co. judge to rule that a union has more rights than an individual. Unions are nothing more than an arm of the Democratic Party. Forcing membership in a union means forcing a person to support a political party with which he or she may not agree. Nothing could me more unconstitutional.
  • Union Obligations
    PDBronco -- You are misinformed. Under the federal National Labor Relations Act a certified union is legally the sole bargaining agent for all of the workers in the bargaining unit (i.e., all the workers) and it has a legal duty of fair representation to represent and deal with all of the workers fairly and even-handedly whether or not they are members of the union. So when you say the union is not required to represent all the workers, you are just flat out wrong! Which then raises the question -- which is more unfair: to make the minority of workers who are being represented but do not support the union to pay union dues or to make the workers who do belong to and support the union pay for an organization that represents everyone equally. Reasonable people can disagree, but don't make your decision based on false information or on a political motivation to hurt an organization that tends to support politicians you don't agree with.
  • Judge got one fact wrong
    There is no requirement that a Union has to represent all workers. That is settled federal case law. Therefore, Therefore, the judge's decision that "...the law violates the state constitution by forcing unions to provide services to workers without payment." is incorrect since the Union is not forced to represent non-union workers.
    • I'm sorry, but
      Freaking Lake County is a cesspool. How many times do they have to learn that 50 years of failed liberal policy has kept them in the state they're in? No wonder Indianapolis wants nothing to do with you (and don't fool yourselves--Chicago doesn't want you either). It's like the Detroit of Hoosierland.
    • justiceforpatperjury@aol.com
      This judge needs to be cloned and placed in Jasper County . We need an honest court with common needs of the citizen not money
    • Bad Law.
      The Indiana version of "Right to Work" has many flaws. It is no doubt viviolates both the State Consitution AND Federal Law. By the way this law has nothing to do with one's right to work...
      • Proof!
        More proof that nothing good ever comes from Lake County.
      • Activist Judges
        These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

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