Tulsa, Okla. (July 15, 2003) – After National Right to Work Foundation attorneys discovered a collusive lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, a Tulsa County judge has ruled to allow an employee represented by Foundation attorneys to intervene in the case in order to defend the law.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, embarrassed when his previous decision to sit on the sidelines became public, has also now filed a motion to intervene in the case. However, rather than oppose the union’s motion for summary judgment, the attorney general is merely arguing that proceedings in the Tulsa case should be delayed until the State Supreme Court resolves the other pending legal challenge to the Right to Work amendment. Meanwhile, the attorney general has failed to respond to the Foundation’s formal request for internal documents detailing why the attorney general had previously chosen not to defend the law.
Judge David Peterson of the Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County ruled to admit Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company, as a “defendant intervenor” in the case of Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts. As “defendant intervenor,” Weese can file briefs and his attorneys can make arguments in court defending his financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right to Work amendment.
Weese argues, in part, that if the union lawyers prevail in overturning Oklahoma’s Right to Work amendment, which prohibits the abusive practice of forcing employees to pay compulsory dues as a job condition, he will suffer direct financial harm.
“By allowing a pro Right to Work employee and his attorneys to enter the case, the court will finally have the opportunity to hear serious arguments opposing this cynical legal attack on Oklahoma’s Right to Work law,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Since the plaintiff union and defendant employer are in cahoots, the court would have only heard one side of the story.”
Filed quietly on May 13, 2003, in Oklahoma State District Court for Tulsa County, Eastern Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council v. Ralph Pitts challenges the Right to Work constitutional amendment on grounds that it somehow violates the Oklahoma constitution. Circumstances suggest that the suit is a “collusion suit” intended by both parties (union and employer) to void the state’s Right to Work law quietly without arguments made zealously by a party that sincerely supports the law.
Legal documents show that the employer defendant, electrical contractor Ralph Pitts, is represented by an attorney who has previously represented International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 584, a member of the plaintiff trades council and the “real party in interest” in this lawsuit. This attorney filed only perfunctory “opposition” to the union’s motion for summary judgment.