Judge rules against Indiana’s right to work law

A Lake County judge has ruled Indiana’s so-called “right to work” law unconstitutional.

During a legal challenge launched by Local 150, Judge John Sedia took issue with the part of the law requiring unions to represent workers while making it illegal for them to require membership dues.

“The right to work law here is unsafe, unfair and an unnecessary law and now it’s been ruled unconstitutional, so we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Jeff Harris, spokesman for the Indiana AFL/CIO.

“The court in Lake County has said (to the legislature), you’re requiring this statute,  you’re requiring citizens and organizations in this state to provide services without compensation and that’s got to be problematic for any legislature or any attorney general,” said Stephanie Jane Hahn, an attorney who specializes in employment law.

Problematic or not, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has already indicated that his office will appeal the ruling directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

The right to work debate filled the streets and rotunda of the statehouse with union workers, and it also emptied half of the house chambers due to a walkout by democrats in 2012. Still, Republican lawmakers passed the legislation arguing that it would bring more employers into the state, creating more jobs.

A year later, it’s clear the fight is far from over.

“Speaker Bosma, the Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce are all very well organized and very well funded, and I can assure you that they will throw all of their resources behind this appeal,” Hahn said.

Harris says the AFL/CIO believes the law is on their side.

“If you look at that portion of Indiana’s constitution it’s pretty clear. We think this judge made the right decision and we think his decision will stand,” Harris said.

Republican lawmakers didn’t provide any formal statements or comments to Fox59 News regarding the ruling as of Monday evening. However, some expressed confidence that the attorney general will successfully fight to uphold the law during the appeal.

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