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Indiana Right to Work Laws

The Crossroads of America has always been a state built on industry. From the steel out of Calumet to the Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, the Hoosier State has played an enormous part in making the things that make America go. And the relationship between unions and companies, though sometimes tense, has played a huge part in getting those things made. In 2012, Indiana, like many states, passed a law affecting how unions can interact with the companies and their employee members. Here’s a quick summary of what are known as right-to-work laws in Indiana.

Right to Work Laws

Many states have enacted what are called "right-to-work" laws in the past few years, which prohibit union membership as a requirement to obtaining and maintaining a job. Indiana's right-to-work law would prohibit unions from requiring nonmembers to pay member-like fees to unions in exchange for representation.

Right to Work Statutes in Indiana

Although the Indiana state legislature passed a right-to-work law in 2012, the law’s status remains unclear. The Lake County court ruled the law unconstitutional under Indiana’s protections against forcing anyone to provide a service for free. As it stands in 2014, the case is now in front of the Indiana Supreme Court, who will have to decide the legality of the statute and how it affects federal requirements that unions represent all the members of bargaining units. The following chart lists the main provisions of Indiana's right-to-work laws, as they stand today.

Code Section

No statutory provisions

Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.


Prohibited Activity




In the most general sense, right-to-work laws regulate the contracts between employers, unions, and union members, preventing employers from excluding non-union workers or requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. About half the states have some version of a right-to-work law, most of which are relatively new. Due to this recent trend, and with some right-to-work like Indiana’s laws being entangled in court litigation, the impact of the laws on wages and collective bargaining agreements remains to be determined. Unions have largely opposed right-to-work laws, while business interests and local chambers of commerce have lobbied heavily for them.

Indiana Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

As you can see from above, employment laws can be complicated and are subject to change. If you would like legal assistance with an employment or union case, you can contact a Indiana labor attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center for more articles and resources on this topic.

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