Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stunning Victory for Right to Work

After a court struck down Indiana’s Right to Work law, unions had every reason to think they would win again in the Indiana Supreme Court. Instead, in a stunning 5-0 decision, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s Right to Work law, and reversed the trial court decision. The president of Operating Engineers Local 150 vowed to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the U.S. Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of the meaning of the Indiana Constitution. The Indiana Supreme Court is – and it resoundingly held in favor of the Right to Work law, which passed in 2012 in spite of intense opposition from union activists.

The Indiana High Court ruled that the Right to Work “law merely prohibits employers from requiring union membership or the payment of monies as a condition of employment.” In other words, a mandatory requirement of union membership cannot be imposed. Employees must be free to choose whether to belong to a union or not. The union argued that, under federal law, it must represent all the workers, yet Indiana’s Right to Work law allows workers to opt out of a union, which must continue to represent them in collective bargaining. This, the union asserted, forces it to work without compensation. The Indiana Supreme Court emphatically rejected the union’s argument.

The authority of Indiana to enact its Right to Work law comes from the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 – one of the greatest conservative legislative triumphs in American history. That landmark federal statute – written by the brilliant Senator Robert A. Taft and passed over a veto by President Harry Truman – gives states the authority to become a right-to-work state. About half the country has done so. It is remarkable that, 65 years after enactment, the Taft-Hartley Act is still producing new conservative victories.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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