SPRINGFIELD, Va. (November 16, 2001) – In response to a multi-union lawsuit, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today announced it will devote “all resources necessary” to defend the will of Oklahoma workers and taxpayers who recently enacted the nation’s 22nd Right to Work law.
Attempting to overturn long-established legal precedents affirming the constitutionality of state Right to Work laws, union officials filed suit against Governor Frank Keating and the State of Oklahoma in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, demanding that the Sooner State’s Right to Work law be struck down as unconstitutional.
“Stung by the loss of their ability to rip forced union dues from the paychecks of hardworking Oklahomans, union bosses are resorting to cynical legal maneuvers in an attempt to get revenge against Oklahoma’s voters,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason. “We are prepared to devote all resources necessary to defending Oklahoma’s Right to Work law from union attack.”
Oklahoma became the nation’s 22nd Right to Work state after voters approved State Question 695, a constitutional amendment making it illegal for union officials to force workers to join a union or pay any union dues as a condition of employment. Instead of having the power to get workers fired for not supporting a union, union officials must now earn their support.
Not only does Oklahoma’s new Right to Work measure protect employee freedom, it also promotes economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
In filing the lawsuit, union lawyers apparently dusted off long-dead legal arguments that state Right to Work laws violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the National Labor Relations Act. Those arguments were rejected by the United States Supreme Court in two 1949 cases, Lincoln Federal Labor Union v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Company and Algoma Plywood Co. v. Wisconsin Board. In Algoma, the High Court upheld states’ ability to pass Right to Work laws even before Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act was passed by Congress in 1947. Section 14(b) explicitly reaffirmed that ability.
Oklahoma union officials made the same spurious arguments in television ads aired just days before the election. The lawsuit appears to be a face-saving maneuver to show that the unions actually believe their own rhetoric.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.