Kentucky governor looks to bring Right to Work to Bluegrass State

Labor leaders begin preparations for next round in contentious Right to Work battle
(PR NewsChannel) / September 23, 2016 / FRANKFORT, KY 

Kentucky State SealUnions and workers take notice: Kentucky’s new Republican governor says he is determined to pass Right to Work legislation in his state.

Gov. Matt Bevin, a staunch conservative, is backing several proposals expected to be introduced in the upcoming General Assembly. The governor has made Right to Work one of his top economic priorities.

Although many experts believe the proposals could pass the GOP-controlled Senate, most see the measures stalling in the Democrat-controlled House. Unions, in the state and outside of it, say they are ramping up in their efforts to defeat what they consider an anti-worker agenda.

“It’s important for us to keep up the pressure so Right to Work advocates can’t gain back any of the ground they’ve lost,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 which represents all of Ohio and several counties in Kentucky. “We have the House on our side but we can’t afford to underestimate the threat we’re under.”

In April, state lawmakers took Right to Work legislation “off the table,” giving labor groups in the state a temporary victory. Earlier in the year, a federal judge also ruled that county governments couldn’t enact the legislation on a local level.

Kentucky’s Right to Work failures have been viewed as a major blow to Gov. Bevin, who was elected last year after campaigning on a platform that included Right to Work initiatives. As it stands, democrats hold a four seat majority in the lower house and are preventing the legislation from gaining any traction.

Dalton, who has been an advocate for labor rights all over the country, isn’t content to let a small majority be Kentucky workers’ last line of defense.

“Enacting these laws is terrible for workers,” says Dalton.  “We have to continue doing everything in our power to let voters know how damaging Right to Work can be for worker rights and the middle-class.”

Right to Work laws, which have been implemented in 26 states, allow individuals in certain industries to operate without paying the necessary union dues. Business aligned proponents of such laws claim that they decrease unemployment while labor union opponents assert that the laws drive wages down and force hard working families into poverty.

Opponents of Right to Work measures claim that the laws lead to lower wages, decreased worker rights and ultimately hurt the middle-class.

For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit:

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SOURCE:  Keep Ohio's Heritage

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