Right to Work stirs local labor advocates

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Indiana will remain a Right to Work State, for now. The law was upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.

The law requires unions to offer union services to people who don’t pay dues and don’t belong to the union. It bans union contracts requiring people be forced to pay fees for representation.

Northwest Central Labor Council President Dennis DeMay said he isn’t surprised by the decision, but said the law is hurting unions financially.

“They don’t sell advertisements, they don’t go work on a commission someplace,” said DeMay. “Union dues are what funds unions.”

DeMay said a lack of union dues isn’t the only problem with the law.

“You should not be able to compel people to provide services without paying them,” DeMay added.

DeMay said Right to Work, which was signed into law in July 2012, is unconstitutional. Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court will hear a case filed by the International Operating Engineer’s union.

“The argument from the state is that applies to individuals and doesn’t apply to entities, and I think that is a lot of what’s going to hinge on how this case is decided,” said DeMay.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the union, Right to Work would be considered unconstitutional. DeMay said the Supreme Court hearing is the best chance they have to get the law abolished.

“Politically, it’s unlikely given the makeup of the General Assembly that they’d ever take another vote to overturn it,” said DeMay. “Basically, the state Supreme Court is going to have the final say on what happens.”

DeMay said unions were created to take care of the working class.

“The unions are really the only large group out there that represents the working class,” said DeMay. “What the union is saying is that it’s the right to work for less, and that’s what happens.”

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