The United States District Court of the Northern District of Indiana upheld Indiana’s right-to-work law by issuing a decision on Sweeney v. Daniels on January 17. The Court dismissed all counts for plaintiffs (the operating engineers Local 150) for their failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Chief Judge Philip P. Simon said, “For better or worse, the political branches of government make policy judgments. The electorate can ultimately decide whether those judgments are sound, wise and constitute good governance, and then can express their opinions at the polls and by other means.”
In his written opinion, Simon makes clear that the building trades unions are not carved out of the right-to-work legislation, as has been suggested. Further, he dismissed the notion that permitting so called “free riders” violate unions’ protected political speech rights.
It is not known yet whether the operating engineers will appeal the decision. Moreover, there is a second legal challenge ongoing in a Lake County court.
The Indiana Chamber led the charge for Indiana to become the 23rd right-to-work state in 2012, positioning our state for national leadership in economic development and worker freedom. Opponents have promised continuing action to repeal or strike down right-to-work in the courts and in the Statehouse, in an attempt to resume the practice of imposing union membership and financial support as a condition of employment. The Indiana Chamber will support and defend the continuation of the right-to-work statute in Indiana.