In a decision issued on January 7th, United States District Judge Matthew Kennelly found that the local “right to work” law passed by the Village of Lincolnshire, Illinois in 2015 is pre-empted by federal law, and that only states and territories have the authority to such laws. Local 150 and three other plaintiffs were granted summary judgment, with the court ruling on the merits without need for a full trial.
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) permits States and Territories the authority to regulate union security agreements via “right to work” laws. Arguing that local units of government have no authority to pass such laws, four unions filed a federal lawsuit against Lincolnshire in early 2016. The plaintiffs were the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Locals 150 and 399, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the Laborers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity.
Judge Kennelly concluded that the NLRA “does not permit local subdivisions to regulate union security agreements.” Additionally, Kennelly found that Lincolnshire has no authority under federal law to regulate union hiring halls or “dues checkoff” agreements between unions and workers they represent.
“We have long argued that local governments simply are not empowered to pass these laws, and we are pleased with Judge Kennelly’s decision,” said IUOE Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney. “This was a political attack against middle class workers, and we will always take up the fight on behalf of workers who depend on decent wages and benefits to support themselves and their families.”
The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 working men and women in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Local 150 represents workers in various industries, including construction, construction material development, public works, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag processing and others.