U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Labor — right-to-work laws
Right to work laws are not preempted by federal law or the U.S. Constitution.
“We noted at the outset that this legislation prompted vigorous debate, both in the general public and the Indiana Statehouse. But the legislative history and context of the Taft-Hartley Act make clear that the controversy is one that ought to be addressed and resolved at the level of legislative politics, not in the courts. The statutory question posed is whether Indiana’s new law is preempted by federal labor law, or threatens the Union’s First Amendment rights. The answer is an emphatic no. Right-to-Work laws like Indiana’s have existed since before the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act and the inclusion of Section 14(b) of the NLRA. Congress specifically reserved to the states the power to write and enforce laws of this nature, in accordance with individual states’ needs and wisdom. It is not our province to wrest this authority, which has been intact and undisturbed for over sixty-five years, from the states and erase the distinction between right-to-work states and non-right-to-work states.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Simon, J., Tinder, J.