Kentucky unions appeal Right to Work decision after controversial dismissal

Labor leaders in Kentucky strike back against constitutionality of hotly contested legislation
(PR NewsChannel) / February 23, 2018 / FRANKFORT, KY 

Despite having their case thrown out in January, Kentucky’s Right to Work saga continues as state unions have taken the next steps to protect workers’ rights in the “Bluegrass State.”

Following a dismissal late last month by Franklin Circuit Court judge Thomas Wingate, a group of labor leaders have hit back in the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Their latest efforts continue their attempt at overturning the controversial legislation based on its constitutionality.

If successful, the suit would block the state’s Right to Work bill, protect union bargaining rights and prevent erosion of wages.

“There is a lot riding on this,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18, which also represents several counties in Kentucky. “If successful, the suit has the opportunity to help workers across the state and roll back this damaging legislation.”

Kentucky became a Right to Work state in 2017 after a Republican sweep during the general election gave proponents the majority, marking the end of a multi-year struggle. In May 2017 the AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 filed suit to block the bill after claims that a ban on mandatory union fees violates the state’s constitution.

The suit named Gov. Matt Bevin and Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey as defendants.

Following Judge Wingate’s controversial ruling and dismissal, many labor experts scoffed at the notion that the laws are constitutional and helpful to workers.

“They can keep trying to frame Right to Work as good for workers but evidence continues to show it’s simply not the case,” said Dalton.

Right to Work is no stranger to conflict. The legislation bans mandatory union dues and allows non-union workers to take advantage of benefits and representation. Proponents claim this fosters a healthier economy, while critics cite studies showing the opposite.

Following implementation, economies typically stall while worker protections and wages erode due to crumbling union powers.

“The facts are clear: Right to Work is bad legislation,” said Dalton. “While I’m optimistic we’ll overcome this latest hurdle, it’s disheartening that Kentucky is in this situation. It proves how important it is to make sure voter voices are heard loudly and often prior to the passing of these terrible bills.”

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SOURCE:  Keep Ohio's Heritage

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