The Corner

Indiana Union Claims Right-to-Work Is Slavery

Indiana’s operating engineers’ union has filed a suit against the state’s new right-to-work law. Among other counts in the lawsuit, they allege that providing union-negotiated benefits to non-union workers toiling alongside union members violates the 13th Amendment. That is, because non-unionized workers aren’t paying dues in exchange for the union’s negotiations, union workers are being enslaved. Michigan Capital Confidential reports:

An Indiana union suing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels over right-to-work legislation is claiming that it violates the 13th amendment — the law that outlaws slavery.

In the lawsuit, the union claims that the Indiana right-to-work bill “requires dues-paying union members to work alongside non-union personnel,” which the union contends is slavery. Ed Maher, spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, didn’t return a message left on his office phone.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the union’s claim was ridiculous.

“The legal argument expands the definition of chutzpa,” Wright said. “Compulsory membership and coerced dues and fees are the hallmarks of the union movement, yet they claim that giving workers more choice is an act of enslavement.” The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed its lawsuit Feb. 22 against Indiana’s governor, attorney general and labor commissioner. . . .

Right-to-work laws prohibit employers and unions from entering into contracts that make workers’ financial support of the union a condition of employment. There are 23 states with right-to-work laws.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

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