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Indiana supreme court upholds state's right-to-work law

[JURIST] The Indiana Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday upheld [opinion, PDF] the state's right-to-work law [text, PDF], stating it did not violate the state's constitution. The 5-0 decision was from an appeal from the Indiana trial court which declared that two of the statutes provisions violated Article 1 Section 21 [text] of the Indiana State Constitution. Citing Bayh v. Sonnenburg the court stated that in order for the law to have violated this section of the state's constitution, the union must show they demonstrated a particular service on the state's demand and is entitled to just compensation. In the majority opinion, Justice Dickson [official profile] stated that the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150-AFL-CIO [official website], the union that filed the statute, failed to meet its burden of proof by not providing evidence that under the right to work law the union could not receive compensation.

Indiana's right-to-work law has been challenged not only in the state courts but also in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website], which ruled [JURIST report] the law was valid under the US Constitution and federal labor laws. Currently 24 states and Guam [NCSL report] have right to work laws [JURIST backgrounder]. The neighboring states of Michigan [JURIST report] and Illinois have also received challenges to their right to work laws. JURIST Guest Columnist Karla Swift of the Michigan State AFL-CIO [advocacy website] argues [JURIST op-ed] that the "right to work" laws enacted by the Michigan Legislature in 2012 are unconstitutional and were enacted in violation of Michigan's Open Meeting Act [text].

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