Missouri labor leaders laud judge's decision tossing out Indiana's right-to-work law
This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2013: Missouri’s top labor leader is lauding an Indiana judge’s ruling against that state’s right-to-work law, although Republicans predict that the Indiana Supreme Court will reject the judge’s argument.
The judge, from predominantly Democratic Lake County, ruled Monday that the law – passed in 2012 – violated Indiana’s constitution because it requires unions to represent workers who decline to pay their share of representation costs. The requirement runs afoul of the constitution’s ban against services provided “without compensation.”
Missouri is among the states that enforce union-security clauses. If a majority of employees decide to unionize, and a business and the labor unions agree to such a provision in a contract, all workers must pay representation costs. Such payments may be slightly less than actual dues, if the worker declines to be a union member.
States with “right to work’’ laws bar such agreements, usually preventing unions and their employers from collecting dues or representation costs via payroll deduction.
“The judge’s ruling finding Indiana’s 'right to work' law unconstitutional is a historic victory for working people,” said Hugh McVey, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.
“This ruling should be a wake-up call to Missouri politicians. Indiana’s so-called ‘right to work’ bill was pushed by the very same CEO-funded corporate special interests who are trying to take away the rights of Missouri workers,” McVey continued. “As our legislators prepare for veto session, let’s see a renewed focus on what’s really important to working families instead of pushing unfair and unnecessary bills that hurt the people who make our state work.”
Among other things, McVey is referring to a bill to be considered during the veto session – SB29 – that would require public-employee unions to obtain annual permission from workers before dues can be deducted from their paychecks.
State House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has said he plans to push for right-to-work during the next legislative session or to help get a proposal on a statewide ballot.
In Indiana, Republican legislative leaders and some legal scholars predict that the state's Supreme Court will put that state’s right-to-work law back into effect.