Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indiana Court Holds Right-to-Work Law Unconstitutional

INThanks to Laura Cooper (Minnesota) for sending along a note about Sweeney v. Zoeller, Ind. Super. Ct., No. 45D01-1305-PL-52, order 9/5/13), in which an Indiana trial court held that the Indiana right-to-work law is unconstitutional under the state constitution because it compels unions to provide services to workers who do not pay for those services.  Here's an excerpt from the decision:

The services provided by a union in representing employees include negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements, [which are paid for] by the payment of dues, and are not something required generally of all citizens.... In fact, federal law ensures that nonmembers who obtain the benefits of union representation can be made to pay for them. [The right-to-work law makes it] a criminal offense for a union to receive just compensation for particular services federal law demands it provide to employees.


Labor Law | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Indiana Court Holds Right-to-Work Law Unconstitutional:


No doubt a short lived victory. I applaud the ingenuity though...a useful way of looking at the situation. Would there be a better preemption argument here since the state has made receipt of fees a criminal offense? That would seem much more intrusive onto federal ground.

Posted by: John | Sep 11, 2013 8:34:03 PM

I think this is great, but perhaps people who know a lot more on the subject can explain to me if this is just an anomoly that will be overturned.

Posted by: Per Son | Sep 12, 2013 6:42:09 AM

It's mostly nonsense, and will have a short shelf-life. Unions lobby for and jealously guard the privilege of monopoly bargaining, and then complain about the costs of representing people who don't want their representation. It's like buying a horse, and complaining about the high cost of oats. This decision is wrong on the law: a number of them.

Posted by: James Young | Sep 12, 2013 7:43:32 PM

I agree, it will have a short life. In fact, the attorney general has already appealed and it seems has won a similar suit in federal court against the same plaintiffs (see But union leaders do have a right to complain when people who do not pay union dues have the right to benefit from union services such as grievance filings and representation and wage and benefit gains. This may be more akin to the neighbor's horse coming onto your land, not letting you ride it, and yet eating the oats that you bought for your horse.

Posted by: Kendall Isaac | Sep 15, 2013 5:52:54 AM


Share why it is wrong on the law.

Posted by: Per Son | Sep 15, 2013 12:45:39 PM

This is hardly the place, "Per Son." I would commend to your attention our amicus briefs.

And Kendall, not when union leaders lobby for and jealously guard the privilege of monopoly bargaining. I'll just assume that you were unaware of that fact, and not just disingenuously ignoring it. Who is it who establishes those grievance procedures, and makes them the exclusive means of redressing disputes? And "wage and benefit gains"? Another union vanity, particularly for excellent employees who could negotiate better wages and benefits based upon superior performance, but whose compensation is limited by a monopoly bargaining agreement.

Posted by: James Young | Sep 16, 2013 6:50:11 PM

James, I am honestly not trying to be a cad, but if you have a place I can read a brief regarding Indiana law, I'd be much appreciative.

Posted by: Per Son | Sep 17, 2013 2:21:29 PM

I accept that, "Per Son," and I wasn't trying to be a wise-a**, either. I'm simply not the primary attorney on the case, and don't have easy access to a copy of the brief.

Posted by: James Young | Sep 19, 2013 10:08:20 PM

Post a comment