- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A federal appeals court panel has affirmed a lower court’s ruling striking down a 2011 anti-union law in Idaho.

Three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a U.S. district court ruling which found the measure conflicted with federal law, The Spokesman Review (https://bit.ly/1NIqVLx ) reported.

The law, which never took effect, banned unions from using funds collected from workers to offset the cost of bids by union contractors on jobs.

The Idaho attorney general’s office warned lawmakers in 2011 that the law would likely be overturned because it clashed with the National Labor Relations Act. However, the bill passed the Idaho Senate 25-8 and the House 55-15. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed it into law.

Labor unions later sued the state over the law and won. The state then appealed to the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals.

“Construction unions have developed such programs to increase their members’ access to work and stem the long-term decline in the percentage of construction workers represented by unions,” Judge Marsha Berzon wrote for the panel, in a decision released Wednesday.

“Under such programs, a union collects funds from workers it represents and then uses those funds to subsidize bids by union contractors, allowing the contractors to lower their labor costs and so more effectively compete with nonunion contractors,” Berzon wrote. “It is well settled that most of the conduct prohibited by Idaho’s statute is protected by the NLRA.”

James Piotrowski, an attorney for the unions, said they plan to seek attorney fees from the state.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com


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