Indiana's Right-to-Work Law Unconstitutional: Judge

But Republicans think state Supreme Court will overturn ruling

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2013 1:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – The latest in the contentious battle over Indiana's right-to-work law: A judge has ruled the law unconstitutional, and the state attorney general's office says it will appeal directly to the Indiana Supreme Court, the Indianapolis Star reports. Last year, Indiana became the 23rd US state to ban mandatory labor union fees, after two years of debate during which Democratic lawmakers dramatically fled across state lines and skipped floor sessions in an effort to delay the bill, and thousands of union workers protested.

Union lawyers filed this lawsuit in an effort to overturn the law, but Republican lawmakers say they purposely filed the suit in a labor-friendly county to ensure a victory. "This is not unex­pected in Lake ­County," says Rep. Jerry Torr, who thinks the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling. "I am confident that this ­decision won’t stand." The Lake Superior Court judge says the right-to-work law violates a section of the state constitution that says services cannot be delivered "without just compensation," because it forces unions to represent non-paying workers. But Republicans say that provision only applies to individuals, not unions, and legal experts tend to agree.

Union workers protest through the Super Bowl Village following a right-to-work vote by legislatures at the Statehouse Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, in Indianapolis.
Union workers protest through the Super Bowl Village following a right-to-work vote by legislatures at the Statehouse Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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This is a victory for the middle class. These laws are nothing but thinly veiled tools to weaken unions, and this is a big win for workers who rely on unions to provide decent wages and benefits. - James M. Sweeney, Local 150
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