- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s so-called “right-to-work” law.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on Monday granted to state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the law is not unconstitutional, The Times-News reported (https://bit.ly/2dWlWuf).

Idaho is one of 26 states with right-to-work laws that forbid requiring union membership as a condition of employment. The lawsuit from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 370 argued that it’s unconstitutional to require unions to spend money and time representing non-members while also forbidding any fees. Unions are also challenging right-to-work laws in Wisconsin and West Virginia, using similar arguments as in Idaho.

The union that filed the lawsuit is based in Spokane but represents a locomotive plant in Boise with 400 workers. According to the lawsuit, just 32 percent of the workers at MotivePower are dues-paying union members, but the union still negotiates contracts for all 400 employees.

James Piotrowski, the lawyer representing IUOE Local 370, didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday.

Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the state in this case and is also involved in defending the Wisconsin and West Virginia laws, put out a statement praising the ruling.

“Union lawyers all over the country, including here in Idaho, are pushing an outrageous legal theory attempting to create a constitutional ‘right’ for union bosses to extort money from workers forced to accept unions’ so-called representation,” Mix said. “We are pleased that the court rejected this outrageous union legal theory and followed over 60 years of legal precedent.”


Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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