Kentucky Becomes 27th State to Enact Right to Work Law

Two More States May Bar Compulsory Union Dues and Fees This Year

In 2015, Big Labor dipped heavily into its forced union dues-funded treasuries to wage extensive voter I.D. and get-out-the-vote drives to ensure entrepreneur Matt Bevin (R) didn’t become the Bluegrass State’s next governor. And union bosses weren’t ashamed to admit the fact that the #1 reason they opposed the GOP gubernatorial nominee so ferociously was his unabashed support for making Kentucky a Right to Work state.

But on November 3, 2015, Kentuckians defied the union hierarchy, favoring Mr. Bevin over union-label Attorney General Jack Conway by a decisive 85,000-vote margin.

And roughly 14 months later, on January 7, Gov. Bevin got the opportunity to sign legislation ending Kentucky’s status as, to quote the words he wistfully used on the campaign trail, “the only state in the South that doesn’t have Right-to-Work legislation.”

He seized it that very day.

Mark Mix: ‘This Is the Culmination of a Persistent, Hard-Fought Battle’

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix applauded the adoption by the fifth state in five years of a law that protects employees from being forced either to bankroll a union they would never join voluntarily, or face termination.

He noted that, within a very short time, Missouri is expected to join Kentucky and the 26 other Right to Work states in upholding employees’ fundamental right to freedom of association. Yet another state, New Hampshire, could also go Right to Work this winter.

Of course, Committee members will continue fighting until no workers, anywhere in America, can be forced to pay union dues or fees simply so they can keep their jobs and support their families.

On behalf of all Committee members, Mr. Mix offered his “warm congratulations to freedom-loving Kentuckians and the elected officials who heeded their pleas to stand up to Big Labor.”

He specifically mentioned Mr. Bevin, House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Chairman Jim DeCesare (R-Bowling Green), Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown), and Senate State and Local Government Chairman Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro).
“This is the culmination of a persistent, hard-fought battle to end compulsory unionism in the Bluegrass State,” said Mr. Mix.

“The National Committee has for years been calling upon candidates in Kentucky to pledge 100% support for Right to Work, and giving encouragement and counsel to grass-roots citizens seeking to pass a state law revoking union officials’ forced-dues and forced-fee privileges.”

‘Every Worker Has the Right To Pay Dues to a Union, But No Worker Should Be Forced’

“Every worker has the right to pay dues to a union, but no worker should be forced,” continued Mr. Mix.

“We have for years foreseen and predicted passage of a Kentucky Right to Work law. But before this victory could happen, Right to Work activists first had to clear away several obstacles. The last one was Big Labor domination of the state House of Representatives.”

Mr. Mix explained: “By the time Matt Bevin took office as Kentucky chief executive at the beginning of 2016, the Kentucky Senate had already gone on the record in support of a state law curtailing Big Labor’s forced-dues privileges.

“Throughout the 2016 legislative session, consequently, it was up to Democrat House Speaker Greg Stumbo [Prestonburg] and his allies to perpetuate union bosses’ monopoly control over workers.

“But on Election Day, 2016, Mr. Stumbo was defeated, and his caucus shriveled from holding a majority of House seats to holding barely more than a third.”

National Committee Mobilized Right to Work Supporters Across the State

Mr. Mix observed that, even with the mostly pro-Right to Work Republican Party poised to hold a 64-36 majority in the House following the 2016 elections, the votes for forced-dues revocation were not simply there for the asking.

“A number of the Bluegrass State’s GOP representatives have histories of supporting forced unionism, and several other GOP House members were still sitting on the fence after Election Day,” explained Mr. Mix.

“That’s why, well before the 2017 legislative session convened, the National Committee began mobilizing its members and other identified Right to Work supporters in Kentucky to contact lawmakers and ask them to send voluntary-unionism legislation to Mr. Bevin’s desk.

“Given the ferocity with which Big Labor opposes all efforts to protect the employee’s personal freedom of choice, victory is never assured for Right to Work supporters.

“But soon after the National and the Kentucky Right to Work Committees contacted more than 100,000 households in Kentucky regarding the pending Right to Work measure, the state House approved it, 58-39. The same measure subsequently cleared the state Senate, 25-12.

“Probably the most important contribution of all made by National Right to Work to freedom-loving Kentuckians’ victory was the Committee’s work since 2003 in helping build legislative and public support for the 23rd state Right to Work law in Indiana.”

Pro-Right to Work Hoosiers’ Early 2012 Victory Set Off a Chain Reaction

“Roughly 14 years ago,” pointed out Mr. Mix, “when few political observers considered expanding Right to Work protections to the Great Lakes region to be a serious possibility, a group of Hoosiers launched a determined effort to do precisely that in their home state.

“From the beginning, the National Committee assisted the efforts of these citizens and the organization they soon put into high gear, the Indiana Right to Work Committee.

“By early 2015, three years after the Indiana Right to Work law was signed in February 2012, two more Great Lakes states, Michigan and Wisconsin, had Right to Work laws on the books.

“And in 2016, West Virginia, a border state that, to quote the Washington Post, ‘essentially gave birth to the modern [Organized Labor] movement,’ became the 26th Right to Work state.”

‘Right to Work Supporters Won’t Rest On Their Laurels’

“Thanks to the principled foes of compulsory unionism in Kentucky and their allies throughout the country, 49% of America’s wage-and-salary employees now live in a state with Right to Work protections,” Mr. Mix continued.

“Just six years ago, only 40% of the wage-and-salary employees across the U.S. were covered by Right to Work laws.

“It’s a record of which the voluntary-unionism movement should be proud. But Right to Work supporters won’t rest on their laurels.

“We won’t be satisfied until all employees in the country, private-sector and public-sector alike, have the right to keep their jobs without being forced to fork over union fees.”

SOURCE: 2017 February National Right to Work Committee’s Newsletter