Lake Co. Judge Rules Right-To-Work Unconstitutional
By Mike Perleberg
(Lake County, Ind.) – Indiana’s right-to-work law violates the state constitution in the eyes of at least one judge.
The anti-union law enacted last year by then Governor Mitch Daniels made it a crime to require workers to pay fees to a union to get or keep a job. The battle over the law in the statehouse caused statehouse Democrats to flee the state to prevent a vote in 2011.
After the law was passed, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed a lawsuit claiming that the right-to-work law violated Article 1, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution which states, “no person’s particular services shall be demanded without just compensation.”
On Monday, Lake County Superior Court Judge John Sedia agreed with the union in declaring the law unconstitutional.
Indiana Democrats and unions applauded Sedia’s ruling. Indiana Democrat Party Chairman John Zody said it is fundamentally unfair to ask people to do something for nothing.
“Indiana’s ‘right to work’ law means you can get all the benefits of union membership — without joining a union. It was an attack on hard-working Hoosiers, and it hasn’t created more jobs or increased wages,” Zody said.
A spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the attorney general will likely appeal the ruling directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.
State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel), who led the push for right-to-work during the 2012 lawmaking session, told the Indianapolis Star that he is sure the union went “forum shopping” to get a favorable decision by filing the lawsuit in labor friendly Lake County.