Warren County first to pass local right-to-work measure, others expected to follow
After a final reading Friday morning, Warren County Fiscal Court passed their local right-to-work measure—becoming the first Kentucky county to pass the ordinance.
Warren County Fiscal Court approved the measure with a 6-1 vote following its first reading last week where the ordinance received a similar vote.
The Chamber has long supported right-to-work legislation to allow workers to choose whether or not they want to be a member of a union, an issue which has been discussed in the state legislature but has not had sufficient backing to pass both the House and the Senate.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO David Adkisson testified at the Friday morning meeting in Bowling Green, arguing that right-to-work measures help the state become more competitive and attracts businesses.
“I’ve seen first-hand economic development recruiters in other states use this issue against Kentucky,” Adkisson said. “It is most definitely a factor in recruiting companies and, in some cases, it takes Kentucky out of the running altogether. I believe it is costing us several thousand jobs per year.”
The two other counties expected to follow suit include Simpson and Fulton Counties, where the fiscal courts have already passed the measure after initial readings and will hold final readings by the end of the month.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Fulton County will hold their final reading on Dec. 29 and Simpson County Fiscal Court’s final reading will take place on Dec. 30.
Adkisson noted that other counties will likely follow suit. “When other counties see additional economic development activity and business growth in these right-to-work counties, I predict we’ll see a number of other counties work to emulate that success.”
Right-to-work is an issue that is also expected to be debated in the 2015 session of the General Assembly. It is a stated priority of the Republican-controlled Senate, but is expected to face stiff opposition in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
In stark contrast to the right-to-work measure passing in Warren County, raising the minimum wage is another issue being raised at the local level. On Thursday, Louisville Metro Council reached an agreement and voted in favor of raising the wage in the area from $7.25 an hour to $9 gradually over a three year period.