Lawsuit filed against right-to-work law

Wednesday, November 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Eight state labor organizations and a pipeline services company have filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn Oklahoma's right-to-work law as unconstitutional.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Oklahoma challenges a law approved by voters on Sept. 25 that bans labor contracts requiring employees to pay union dues.

The state and Gov. Frank Keating are named as defendants.

Dan Mahoney, a spokesman for the governor, said Keating had not seen the lawsuit but that he ``strongly stands behind the measure, strongly stands behind what was on the ballot and strongly stands behind the voters of Oklahoma, who passed right to work overwhelmingly.''

Plaintiffs' attorney Steven Hickman of Tulsa said the law violates the state and federal constitutions as well as the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, the Railway Labor Act, the Postal Reorganization Act and the Civil Service Reform Act.

``I don't know how we can lose,'' Hickman said. ``There are so many things in there they can't do.''

The lawsuit alleges the law violates the Oklahoma constitution because it covers more than one subject and originated in the Legislature as a ``special bill,'' which is targeted at a specific individual or group.

It also alleges violation of the federal constitution as it applies to federal installations.

The lawsuit lists 11 specific violations.

The plaintiffs are Local 514, Transport Workers Union of America; Local 627, International Union of Operating Engineers; Local Lodge 898, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers; Local 916, American Federation of Government Employees; Local 1358, National Association of Letter Carriers; Oklahoma State American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations; and Edwards Pipeline Services.