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home : most recent : statewide implications May 25, 2016

3/8/2012 6:27:00 PM
State officials ask court to dismiss challenge to right-to-work law

Teresa Auch Schultz, Post-Tribune

Gov. Mitch Daniels and two other state officials have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to block the recently signed right-to-work law.

According to a motion to dismiss filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which filed the lawsuit last month against Daniels, Indiana Attorney Greg Zoeller and Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Lori Torres, can’t sue Daniels or Zoeller because they are protected because federal and state laws bar people from suing state officials acting in their official capacities.

The motion also argues that the union, which represents employees in Indiana including at U.S. Steel Gary Works, has not actually suffered a loss or punishment yet as the law does not go into effect until Wednesday and won’t affect contracts already created by then until they are changed or renewed.

Judicial review in these situations are for “issues that are present or imminent — not squandered on problems that are a future possibility,” the motion says.

It also adds that the union has not proven that any of its actions would violate the Right to Work law, although the original lawsuit said that many of the union contracts Indiana overseen by the union do contain clauses that require all employees covered by the contract to pay some kind of financial contribution.

The Right to Work law bans this provision, leaving the choice of paying anything up to the employees. Supporters have said the law will encourage more businesses to move to the state, but opponents have said it is nothing more than a move to bust unions.

The motion also says the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

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• In response to right-to-work lawsuit, state says officials can't be sued

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