(Reuters) - The federal judge who has been asked to block implementation of Indiana's new "right-to-work" law said on Tuesday he will hold a formal hearing on the request early next week.
U.S. District Judge Philip Simon gave backers of the anti-union measure, including Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, until Friday to submit their response to the emergency motion for a temporary restraining order filed last week by critics of the law.
Simon scheduled a hearing on the motion for next Monday, March 5 at 1 pm in federal court in Hammond, Indiana.
Opponents of the "right-to-work" measure claim the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by requiring dues-paying members to furnish free representation to people who refuse to join the union or pay dues, among other things.
Indiana became the 23rd state to pass "right-to-work" legislation on February 1 - and the first in the nation's manufacturing heartland to do so.
Republican supporters of the law, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation,
said it was needed to attract and keep businesses in the state.
Opponents say the measure is designed to hobble organized labor, a key financial supporter of the Democratic Party, and to lower the wages and benefits of Indiana workers.
So far, efforts to overturn similar anti-union laws in other states have been unsuccessful. But opponents of the Indiana measure say that backers of that state's law, in their haste to get it passed, included several measures in it that will not survive court scrutiny.
(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Paul Thomasch)