Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lawsuits against RTW4Less in Ind., Mich. and Wisc.; Fight brewing in Ohio

Thanks, Overpass Light Brigade.

Right-to-work-for-less ain't over 'til it's over, folks.

Working people are fighting hard against radical billionaires who want to turn the Midwest into Mexico for Canada. Lawsuits against anti-worker laws are moving through the courts in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. And in Wisconsin, parts of Job-killer Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 (which deprives public employees of collective bargaining rights) have been struck down. And an intense battle against RTW4Less is already brewing in Ohio, where anti-worker extremists are trying to put RTW4Less on the ballot. 

It's very, very unclear whether Michigan's new union-busting laws will withstand court challenges -- and that's according to lawyers at the union-busting firm Jackson Lewis in a Dec. 18 online seminar.

The Michigan Education Association and a private citizen named Robert Davis have both filed lawsuits claiming the RTW4Less laws are illegal. They argue lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Act when they continued proceeding on the bills behind Capitol doors that were locked in violation of a court order.

Further litigation is expected. It will probably hinge on whether lawmakers were justified in passing RTW4Less as spending bills. By doing so, they made it impossible to repeal and more difficult to strike down in a ballot initiative.

Here's what the Cleveland Plain Dealer says about the upcoming fight in Ohio:
Ohio can't follow Michigan's lead and quickly pass right-to-work legislation without a nasty public fight, a prospect that politicians and business leaders want to avoid at all costs... 
...a push to make Ohio right to work would almost certainly lead to a union-backed recall effort. 
Republicans and their allies in the business world don't want a replay of 2011's Issue 2, a union-backed recall of a bill that blocked collective bargaining rights for state employees. The fight left Republican Gov. John Kasich bruised politically and soured many to the idea of going after Ohio's unions again.
Let's hope.

Anyhoo, here's a helpful update on legal challenges to union-busting laws in Indiana and Wisconsin from the Detroit News:

In Indiana
...the International Union of Operating Officers Local 150 last week went to U.S. District Court in the latest stage of the chapter's legal fight against the legislation there. The federal court challenge argues federal statutes, particularly the National Labor Relations Act and the subsequent Taft-Hartley Act, pre-empt Indiana's right-to-work law.
The second legal challenge in Indiana, now moving through the state courts:
...filed by United States Steelworkers, claims the law violates the state's constitution. 
Like the federal suit, it hinges on the union's legal responsibility to represent everyone in a work setting, whether they pay dues or not. 
"The Indiana state constitution says that a person cannot be compelled to provide services to another without just compensation," said Jim Robinson, a district director with United Steelworkers.
In Wisconsin:
Act 10, passed in 2010, did not go as far as the legislation passed in Michigan this week — applying only to public sector employees. And parts of the act have been struck down in the courts.