Enjoying free legal aid from the Nat’l Right to Work Legal Def. Fdn., employees from three different Okla. companies filed formally Jan. 22 in U.S. Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Okla. to join Okla. Gov. Frank Keating (R) in defending Okla.’s new Right-to-Work constitutional amendment against multi-union attack. The employees argue that if the unions prevail in voiding the statewide ban on forced unionism they will suffer direct financial harm as well as damage to their interests of free speech and free association.
The Okla. AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the suit in Nov. to overturn the will of Oklahomans in enacting State Question 695 on Sept. 25. The Right-to-Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay any union dues as a condition of employment. Okla. is the newest of Am.’s 22 Right-to-Work states.
“Despite the personal risks they face in publicly opposing the state’s most powerful union officials, these employees feel so strongly that they have decided to stand beside Governor Keating in federal court to face down this multi-union lawsuit,” said Stefan Gleason, vice President of NRTWLDF. “The Right to Work law is not just about economic growth and creation of high-paying jobs, it’s about protecting individual rights and reducing union corruption and abuse.”
The employees are filing with the court as “defendant intervenors” which will ensure that they can file briefs and make arguments in court to defend their direct financial and liberty interests at stake in the preservation of the Right-to-Work amendment. Meanwhile, Gov. Keating’s primary legal responsibility is to protect the interest of the public at large in a law passed by electoral referendum.
The three employees are Kent Duvall, an employee of United Parcel Service, Michelle McKenzie, an employee of Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., and Stephen Weese, an employee of Oklahoma Fixture Company. Motions for summary judgment were schedule to be filed by the parties on or before Jan. 31. [NRTWLDF 1/22/02]
Separately, Jimmy Curry, president of the Okla. AFL-CIO, said Jan. 23 he thinks the suit will be decided in Apr. John Hermes, Oklahoma City attorney representing Keating in the case, said lawyers for both sides will file legal briefs, then argue the case in Mar. [Daily Oklahoman 1/24/02]