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Liberty Justice Center to appeal local right-to-work case to U.S. Supreme Court

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Tuesday, October 2, 2018  |  Article  |  atchdog News

Labor (55) , Right to work , Unions, labor (55)
A nonprofit law firm that represented Mark Janus in his fight to overturn forced union fees said it intends to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court conflicting appellate court rulings regarding the ability of municipalities to create their own right-to-work zones.

Liberty Justice Center represents the village of Lincolnshire, located in the north suburbs of Chicago. In 2015, the village passed an ordinance creating a right-to work zone within its borders.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and 399, the Chicagoland Regional Council of Carpenters and the Laborers District Council of Chicago filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance. 

A U.S. District Court judge ruled with the unions and threw out the ordinance, saying the National Labor Relations Act that granted states the authority to pass right-to-work laws did not give the same authority to local governments. Last week, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision.

But the 7th appellate district's decision is in conflict with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in 2016 that local governments can pass their own right-to-work laws.

"We now have a split between the 6th and 7th Circuit Courts, which presents us with the opportunity to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," Jeffrey Schwab, senior attorney with Liberty Justice, said in a statement. "We intend to do so." 

Liberty Justice Center represented the plaintiff in Mark Janus vs AFSCME. Janus, previously an Illinois state worker, challenged the fees he was forced to pay to AFSCME even though he did not join the union and disagreed with its politics. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled on First Amendment grounds in June that forced union fees are unconstitutional. Janus is now a senior fellow with Liberty Justice.

Terrance McGann, who represents the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, told the Chicago Sun-Times that he hopes the issue does not reach the Supreme Court.

“Judge [Matthew] Kennelly’s ruling, as well as the 7th Circuit’s backing that ruling, are both legally sound,” he told the Sun-Times. “My concern is the Supreme Court may want to make this fit a rationale that fits a political agenda.”