Federal judge strikes down local right-to-work laws in Kentucky

After several counties in the state passed local right-to-work measures to allow workers to choose whether or not they want to be a member of a union in the absence of a statewide law, a federal judge in Louisville struck down a Kentucky county’s right-to-work ordinance on Wednesday.

More than a dozen Kentucky counties have passed right-to-work ordinances since Warren County was the first to take up the issue in December 2014, and as many as 20 counties were waiting for the court decision before moving forward by passing similar ordinances. The passage of the local ordinances came as a result of the issue remaining a political football in the state legislature.

U.S. District Judge David Hale in Louisville ruled that federal labor law preempts Hardin County’s right-to-work measure after hearing arguments from both sides in August.

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 and believes the measures help the state become more competitive and attract businesses.

“It’s clear that communities that want to be more competitive for new industries see right to work as a clear advantage. Eventually the state legislature will come to the same conclusion and our entire state will be designated,” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said. “We are losing thousands of jobs each year.”

It is likely this decision will be appealed in the courts. To read more on the arguments heard in federal court and learn more about the issue click here.

Right to work legislation has been filed in the 2016 session but has not yet started to move through the legislative process. Stay up to date on the issue here on Bottom Line.

Categories: 2016 General Assembly, Kentucky Competitiveness, Labor

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