Kentucky Employees’ Right to Work at Stake

Fall Gubernatorial Contest’s Outcome Could Decide State’s Future

(source: National Right to Work September 2015 Newsletter)

nl201509_Page_4In just a few weeks, Kentucky voters will go to the polls to select their next governor. And the union political machine is revving up massive, forced union dues-funded voter I.D. and get-out-the-vote campaigns to ensure that Democrat Attorney General Jack Conway becomes the Bluegrass State’s chief executive in January.

Union bigwigs haven’t been coy about why it is so important to them that Mr. Conway prevail this November.

An item posted on the state AFL-CIO web site in February, for example, quoted this blunt statement from Howard Dawes, director of the “Committee on Political Education” for a Paducah-based central labor council overseeing AFL-CIO-affiliated unions in Kentucky’s 13 westernmost counties:

“We support Jack Conway because he supports us. He opposes right to work . . . .”

Jeff Wiggins, the president of the council, chief of Calvert City United Steelworkers Local 9447, and a member of the state AFL-CIO executive board, offered basically the same explanation of why he is a “Conway fan”:

“We don’t need a governor who will tell us that we . . . need right to work. We need Jack Conway.”

Registered Kentucky Voters Support Right to Work by A Two-to-One Margin

Ensuring that another forced-unionism apologist succeeds veteran Big Labor politician Steve Beshear (D) as governor may indeed be the only realistic way for Kentucky union bosses to preserve their special privilege to get employees fired for refusal to pay dues or fees to their organizations.

An overwhelming majority of the Kentucky Senate has already gone on the record in support of a statewide law sharply curtailing Big Labor’s forced-dues privileges. And Right to Work support continues to grow in the state House as well.

Moreover, nonpartisan polls have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of Kentuckians agree that the individual employee’s freedom to join or not join a union should be equally protected under the law.

Just last year, a poll sponsored by WKYT-TV in Lexington, WHAS in Louisville, and the principal newspapers in the same cities found registered voters support Right to Work by a two-to-one margin.

“Unfortunately, the status quo in Kentucky is fundamentally unfair and contrary to what the public favors,” said Mary King, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.

“As even the late Clyde Summers, a Pennsylvania law professor who personally supported monopoly unionism, admitted, under the monopoly-bargaining system, workers who don’t want a union are often made worse off than they were before.

“To quote Dr. Summers: ‘Full-timers may bargain to limit the jobs of part-timers, seniority provisions may disadvantage younger workers, and wage increases of the low skilled may be at the expense of the highly skilled.’

“The harmed workers are properly seen as ‘captive passengers.’ There is no even half-way plausible justification for forcing them to pay union dues as a job condition. Yet that’s what current law does in Kentucky.”

So Far, Matt Bevin Is Kentucky Right to Work Supporters’ Only Choice

Facing off against Mr. Conway in Kentucky’s gubernatorial contest this fall are two candidates from the business world, Republican Matt Bevin and Independent Drew Curtis.

Mr. Bevin is pledging to sign, at the first opportunity, a law protecting employees from termination for refusal to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union.

But Mr. Curtis has already gone on the record in opposition to a state Right to Work law in Kentucky. The minor difference between him and Mr. Conway on this important issue is that Mr. Curtis has indicated he would support Right to Work at the local level only.

“Barring a last-minute change of heart by Drew Curtis and/or Jack Conway, only one of the gubernatorial candidates on the ballot in Kentucky in November will favor a state statute revoking union bosses’ forced-dues privileges. That candidate is Matt Bevin,” concluded Ms. King.