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October 2020 Critical Fights in Complex Times

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Federal Appeals Court Hears Local 150 Lawsuit Against Local “Right to Work” Law

After a federal judge ruled in favor of Local 150 and three other unions in a lawsuit against Lincolnshire’s local “right-to-work” ordinance, all sides were back in court on March 27th to deliver oral arguments on an appeal brought by the Liberty Justice Center (LJC), which represents Lincolnshire. 

Local 150, IUOE Local 399, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity quickly filed the lawsuit after Lincolnshire’s Village Board voted to establish an illegal “right-to-work” zone in 2015. In the original decision, US District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly issued a strong opinion in favor of the unions, stating that federal law only authorizes states and territories to pass “right to work” laws. Without explicit authorization from the National Labor Relations Act, a municipality cannot pass a “right-to-work” law

Judge Diane Wood asked many pointed questions to Jacob Huebert, litigating on behalf of the right-wing-funded LJC, which has taken anti-union positions in several high-profile lawsuits like Janus v AFSCME Council 31, which was heard by the Supreme Court in February.

“It seems to me that you are proposing to destroy a national system of labor relations,” Judge Wood said to Huebert, recognizing the motivation of LJC. “I think you’re creating a system of massive chaos,” Wood continued.

“We are confident that the appeals court will come to the same decision as the federal district court did last year,” said IUOE Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney. “Lincolnshire’s ordinance is illegal, plain and simple, and we will continue to fight it, as we do every attempt to advance ‘right-to-work’ laws.”

Click above to listen to the oral argument from March 27th.



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