Union lawyers have filed an appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to overturn Oklahoma’s new Right to Work Law, a measure making union membership voluntary while creating new jobs. “The decision to file an appeal is another slap in the face to the voters of Oklahoma who rejected the unions’ cynical campaign of misinformation last fall,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation, whose legal-aid attorneys will be representing employees defending the Right to Work law at the appellate court.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, Oklahoma has led the nation in the creation of jobs since the passage of Right to Work last September.
“The workers of Oklahoma are already seeing the benefits of living in a Right to Work state,” said Gleason.”When will union officials end their hostility toward employee freedom and the creation of new jobs for Oklahomans?”
On June 6, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frank Seay ruled on motions for summary judgment submitted by Governor Frank Keating’s legal team and attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented several Oklahoma workers in defending the law. The court held that, as in other states, the Right to Work law cannot be enforced with regard to employees covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA) or employees of the federal government. But the law clearly and constitutionally protects employees who work for private companies under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Meanwhile, the court held that the minor provisions that banned exclusive union hiring halls and payroll deduction were pre-empted by federal law.
The Oklahoma AFL-CIO, six local unions, and a heavily unionized company filed the original suit last November in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma to overturn the will of Oklahoma’s voters, who enacted State Question 695 on September 25, 2001. The Right to Work constitutional amendment bans the widespread union practice of forcing workers to join an unwanted union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Oklahoma is the newest of America’s 22 Right to Work states. [NRTWLDF 6/18.02]