Oklahoma‘s Right to Work law appears secure with a unanimous 3-0 ruling from the 10th Circ. Ct. of Appeals on Feb. 13 that upheld the voter-approved constitutional provision against a legal challenge by several unions and a unionized contractor. The panel agreed with U.S. Dist. Judge Frank Seay (E.D., OK, Carter) that the proposal approved in a referendum on Sept. 25, 2001, remained in effect even though two of its provisions — one banning union hiring halls, the other barring check-off of union dues — were inconsistent with fed. labor law.
Judge Seay ruled those provisions void but left in force the main provision guaranteeing the right to work of Okla. employees without being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. This was Big Labor’s last chance to use the courts to overturn the majority will of Okla. voters. They could now ask that the case be heard before the entire 10th Circ., or they could petition the U.S. Sup. Ct. But legal experts give neither option much chance of success. [Tulsa World, 2/14/04]