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Union seeks restraining order on right-to-work law

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A federal judge will hear arguments next week on a union's request for a temporary restraining order to stop Indiana from enforcing its new right-to-work law.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 contends in a motion filed Monday afternoon that the law will cause irreparable harm, saying it already has employers actively questioning its ability to sustain itself in the face of a loss of a significant portion of its dues. The union says its members pay on average between $2,000 and $2,500 a year in dues and a loss of just 10 percent in membership would cost it $500,000 a year.

Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said Tuesday the state will respond to the motion on Friday. He said the union was basically reasserting the same arguments it made in its lawsuit filed last week. Zoeller said then he would defend the law, arguing "the Legislature was within its authority to create a new policy concerning mandatory union dues."

The two sides will argue the case before U.S. District Judge Philip Simon in Hammond on Monday afternoon. The union, which has about 4,000 members in northwest Indiana, is asking him to find that the law will cause irreparable harm to the union. It also seeks a preliminary injunction hearing as soon as possible, arguing the law is unfair.

"The union's obligation to represent fairly all employees is undermined by any right to work law," the union argues in a memorandum in support of the temporary restraining order.

Indiana became the 23rd state to ban unions from collecting mandatory fees when Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the right-to-work legislation into law on Feb. 1. Indiana Democrats fought the law and boycotted the House session for several days to try to derail the bill. Union members turned out by the thousands to protest against the law, arguing that it will lead to lower wages and poorer quality jobs.

Supporters contend the law helps create a pro-business climate that attracts employers and increases jobs.

The union argues the law is unfair because it went into effect immediately for construction workers, but for some other unions it isn't enacted until March 14.

"The state has not articulated any reason why the law should have an immediate effect on the construction industry; in fact that state has not articulated any sound reason for any provision of the law," the memorandum says. "There is no 'purpose' or 'public policy' section in the law, leaving the public only to guess what the Legislature meant."

The lawsuit also argues the law is unfair because it negates contracts that already were legally negotiated.

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  • terry doesn't understand
    you must be mitch's relation to support this piece of garbage. how can it help people in indiana when you will make less money? also out of state contractors will now try to get our job's and bring in people from out of state to do the work. then those wages will go back with them and won't be spent in this area to help our economy. in all the states that have tried this wages have gone down and the only ones making more is the company's and the politicians that that got it passed. it's a shame that our great governor (trying not to laugh at what i just said because it is such a stupid statement about him. thank god he isn't trying to run for president) would sell out the people of this state. it will take many years for this state to recover from his leadership. he has been a terrible leader not someone for people to look up to
  • RTW
    I supported the RTW Law hoping that it will draw large manufacturing operations to the state, as observed in other RTW States. However, I also believe that we need a higher minimum wage in the service sector, which appears to be the growth area for entry level jobs. The Middle Class has been pushed downward into the Poverty Zone, pushing the poor from entry level jobs in the service sector. While many readers may disagree, the transfer of manufacturing sector jobs to foreign operations had more to do with union busting, which is now becoming an issue in China, India, Viet Nam, and Indonesia. Foreign workers want an improved life style, and unions are forming in these countries. Does that sound familiar?
    • Corpetate take over of our government
      It's been a long time in the making.One more nail in the coffin of working class families. Doesn't any one but me see what's really going on here. Our freedom, liberty, and wages are being swallowed up by puppet politicians and there wealthy bosses. TIME TO FIGHT BACK FOOLS!!!!
    • Leave the Law to people who are trained to comprehend the Law
      Nice thought Paul, but thats not how it works. I hope that you don't approach whatever it is that you do in life without reconciling your uninformed perception of reality with actual reality. Good luck buddy.
    • Abusing the Legal System
      What is happening is just another "adventure" tying up the courts for no legitimate reason. If the judge will look at FEDERAL law, he would see that the U*S Government actually has a RTW law in that there are unions representing Federal employees but employees covered by such unions are NOT required to pay dues. Strictly voluntary. The suit should be dismissed without further ado and the complainants should pay court costs. They and their lawyer(s) know that RTW laws are legal. They just want to tie up the court system.
    • ??????
      How will lower wages help the economy?
    • opposite perhaps
      The opposite will probably happen since Union households traditionally have slightly higher incomes than non union households. Once the corporations break the unions, wages will go down for more people thereby driving the economy down with it. Where people have less they spend less. Also once benefit packages are eroded more dollars will be spent on healthcare, etc., depriving the economy of the money that would be spent on goods. This is simply a republican attack on workers on behalf of their corporate masters. Nothing more, nothing less.
    • Can't have it both ways
      The irreparable harm is that their membership numbers will drop and that isn't sufficient enough evidence to stop this just like the ones for this legislation that say it will help the Indiana economy can't really come up with sufficient evidence to say it will. This is just delaying the inevitable especially when the Supreme Court has upheld every other right to work piece of legislation that has been brought before it.

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