Lawyers argue in right-to-work lawsuit in federal court - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Lawyers argue in right-to-work lawsuit in federal court


MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Attorneys presented arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the right-to-work law approved by voters last year.

Attorney Larry Gold, who represents a group of seven labor organizations and a Tulsa pipeline services company, contended that the law is too broad and could affect federal labor laws.

State laws cannot override federal laws, Gold told U.S. District Judge Frank Seay in the Eastern Federal District Court in Muskogee. He also said the law cannot be fixed in federal court and should be scrapped entirely.

``When half of it is unenforceable, the whole thing has to come down,'' Gold said.

Fifty-four percent of Oklahomans voted for State Question 695 during a Sept. 25 election. The new law bans the payment of mandatory union dues.

Kent Meyers, a lawyer representing Gov. Frank Keating, who is a defendant in the lawsuit, said the right-to-work law does not impede on federal labor laws.

``It's absolutely permissible that a state can say you don't have to join a union and still comply with federal labor laws,'' Meyers said.

Meyers argued that state legislation automatically submits itself to federal laws concerning labor matters. SQ 695, while passed by a popular vote, was created by a joint resolution of the state Legislature.

Seay said he would weigh the arguments and make a decision on the case within the next few weeks.
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