Home > Uncategorized > Union Says right-to-work law violates free speech

Union Says right-to-work law violates free speech

Union Says right-to-work law violates free speech


New laws in Indiana have adopted right-to-work laws, prohibiting labor contracts that require workers to pay union dues, or representation fees. Since these laws have been passed, Unions have spoken up and said that these laws should be turned down on account of the union’s freedom of speech being infringed upon. The attorneys for the union are citing the Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee case, which reduced restrictions for corporate campaign spending. (http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_08_205 )

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150’s attorneys have filed a 45 page brief with numerous arguments against the new law amendments. Included in these arguments, includes the point that by not receiving dues from all the workers, they are no longer receiving the same funding for political speech. They are claiming that the state has actually sided with the corporations, and restricting a channel of speech-supporting finance.

On April 26th there is a hearing set to be held revolving around the state’s motion to dismiss this lawsuit. Later this month they plan to use the Citizens United Ruling that struck down restrictions that were previously placed on corporations’ and union spending for endorsing, advertising and other various uses for political speech.

Many critics are pointing out a fair amount of flaws and weakness in the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150’s argument. Some third party lawyers that are quoted in the article say that the Union never used the first amendment argument in their original argument, which is the position that would give them their best chance to win this case. However, since they did not begin with this point in their case, it is out of line. Others were quoted saying “ The Free Speech is for you to speak…it’s not that you have the authority to have others pay for it.”

It’s curious– how much of the Citizens case will hold to the unions cause in this situation. Many lawyers have said that this would “turn Citizens United on its head” or that it there would be surprise if “Citizens United will bear the weight they’re attempting to put on it”. Furthermore, if this case is brought to a Supreme Court hearing and the Union wins their case, this would alter labor law perhaps in a greater fashion than even the new amendments coming from the NLRB at the end of this month.

While some call this a stretch, it is a topic that is hot, and it has the potential to affect the labor environment on a national level.

Between the Rust Belt States considering Right-to-Work laws for the first time, and the NLRB amending the National Labor Relations Act, essentially changing labor law for the first time in 50 years, the rules for the conflict between Corporations and Unions will have the potential to change drastically.

Michigan right-to-work campaign link


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