Posts tagged: unions
Union groups are getting a chance to revise their lawsuit and add new defendants in a challenge to two Idaho laws targeting organized labor, the AP reports, following a ruling by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO and the Southwest Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO won their lawsuit in U.S. District Court, overturning both laws, but the state appealed to the 9th Circuit. Before the high court could take up the appeal, lawmakers ditched the criminal penalty for one of the laws, changing the arguments before the appellate court; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
A federal judge has invalidated both the new anti-union laws pushed through by Idaho GOP lawmakers last session, saying they violate federal law. The two measures, SB 1007 and 1006, both expansions of Idaho's Right-to-Work law, sought to ban “job targeting programs” and “project labor agreements” and proposed steep penalties for violations; an injunction in July blocked SB 1007 from taking effect.
Both bills were sponsored by Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, who acknowledged that there was “a lot of talk about” legal issues with the bills, but said, “I thought that we were OK.” Goedde said, “We had instances where the carpenters union from Portland was disrupting work, and I think that was the real emphasis behind the effort.” He said the issue was brought to him by former state lawmaker Dean Haagenson of Coeur d'Alene, who is with the Inland Empire Associated Building Contractors. The Inland ABC, which filed an amicus brief in the case supporting the two bills, already has filed a notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit, saying it should have been allowed to intervene as a full party in the case.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill wrote in his 39-page decision that the various programs targeted by the bills weren't, as the Inland ABC argued, “a form of compulsory unionism.” Wrote Winmill, “Nothing about a job targeting program … makes union membership compulsory. Because Idaho is a right-to-work state, membership in any local in Idaho is entirely voluntary.”
John Littel, regional political director for the Carpenters Union, said, “We were pretty surprised about how much momentum there was to really, I think, try to take a bite out of the unions, and specifically the carpenters.” He added, “Regardless of what a legislator thinks or feels about a union's right to exist or not, these are protected activities.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Here's a link to the 22-page decision from U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill granting a motion for a preliminary injunction to block a new Idaho anti-union law from taking effect; Winmill issued his decision on Friday. At issue is SB 1007, the “Fairness in Contracting Law,” which otherwise would have taken effect Friday and sought to ban unions from using dues funds to subsidize members' wages to help contractors win project bids.
Winmill ruled that the law directly conflicted with federal law, which protects such “job targeting” programs. Plus, he wrote, “There is some evidence that job targeting programs may have resulted in financial savings on state and local public work projects.” The bill passed amid a flurry of anti-union zeal in this year's Idaho Legislature, reportes John Miller of the Associated Press; click below for his full report.
A federal judge is now pondering whether Idaho's newest anti-union laws should be blocked while they're challenged in court, the Associated Press reports; the two laws, intended to weaken the power of labor organizations in Idaho, were passed during the 2011 legislative session and are scheduled to take effect July 1. Two unions are challenging the measures as unconstitutional; U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill is expected to rule this week on a request for a preliminary injunction; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.