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Indiana Right-to-Work Law Suffers Major Blow

Indiana’s new right-to-work law suffered a major blow when a state superior court judge ruled the legislation violated the state’s constitution.  The Indiana Attorney General said the state will appeal the case directly to the state supreme court.  The law will continue in effect unless and until that court strikes it down.

Like other right-to-work laws, the Indiana statute bans collective bargaining agreements that require union membership or paying fees as a condition of employment.  Violations could result in criminal liability.  The court ruled this law violates the Indiana Constitution’s provision that, “No person’s particular services shall be demanded, without just compensation.”  The right-to-work law, according to the court, unconstitutionally requires unions to provide services to employees included in the union’s bargaining unit who are not dues-paying members.

As unions struggle to regain relevance amid declining membership rates, they depend on the ability to collect money and membership even from those who do not wish to be represented by the union.  Indiana’s 2012 legislation was an attempt to reinstate the right-to-work law that was repealed in 1965.  If the right-to-work law is ultimately struck down, employees in the state could once again be forced to join the union or else lose (or never be hired for) their jobs.

Brody and Associates regularly advises employers on union-related matters and provides union-free training.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.