National Right to Work President Applauds Passage of Right to Work in KY as More States Eye Ending Forced Unionism
Bluegrass State residents will soon join the growing ranks of Americans living in a state that’s freed workers from compulsory unionism and begin enjoying the benefits of greater personal freedom and stronger economic growth that come with a state Right to Work law.
Springfield, VA (January 7, 2017) – Today, Mark Mix, President of the 2.8 million-member National Right to Work Committee, praised the Kentucky Legislature’s passage of the Kentucky Right to Work Bill (HB1), issuing the following statement on the struggle to end forced unionism in the Bluegrass State and encouraging legislators in Missouri and New Hampshire to follow Kentucky’s lead:
“This is a great day for the hardworking men and women of the Bluegrass State as the House and Senate have now passed the Kentucky Right to Work Bill.
“Thanks are due especially to Governor Bevin, Speaker Hoover, Chairman DeCesare, Senate President Stivers, Majority Leader Thayer, Chairman Bowen and the thousands of National Right to Work Committee members and identified supporters across Kentucky who’ve, again and again, contacted their legislators.
“This is the culmination of a long, hard-fought battle to end compulsory unionism in the Bluegrass State and make Kentucky America’s 27th Right to Work state.
“After a years-long struggle involving tens of thousands of mobilized Kentuckians, citizens of the Bluegrass State will finally be able to enjoy all the benefits of a Right to Work law.
“The Kentucky Right to Work law will free tens of thousands of Kentucky workers who have been forced to pay tribute to a union boss just for the privilege of getting and keeping a job so they can provide for their families. The law will also provide a much needed economic boost for Kentucky.
“As legislators in states like New Hampshire and Missouri eye passing Right to Work laws for their states, I would encourage them to follow Kentucky’s lead.
“Right to Work laws simply restore the ability of workers to decide for themselves whether union membership is right for them, reaffirming the right of every worker to voluntarily join a union and protecting each individuals’ right to be employed without being forced to join or pay dues or fees to a union boss for the privilege.”
The adoption of Kentucky’s Right to Work law makes Kentucky the fifth state in the past five years to outlaw forced unionism. Thanks in part to the National Right to Work Committee’s efforts, Indiana (2012), Michigan (2013), Wisconsin (2015) and West Virginia (2016) have all recently passed Right to Work laws.
As the Committee celebrates the Kentucky Legislature’s passage of Right to Work, Committee staff are also hopeful that efforts in Missouri and New Hampshire will soon result in victories for opponents of forced unionism in those states as well.
Of course, Right to Work supporters, and the nearly 80% of citizens in the Granite and Show Me states who oppose forced unionism, can’t just sit back and count on Governors Sununu and Greitens, and the State Senate and House Republican majorities in those states, to automatically free workers and their state’s economy from Big Labor’s forced-dues stranglehold.
Passage of Right to Work Culmination of a Long-Term Battle
As Brendan Cole, Executive Director of the Kentucky Right to Work Committee, noted following the State Senate’s vote Saturday sending the Right to Work Bill to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s desk on a vote of 25-12, “This is the culmination of a long push by Right to Work supporters.”
The Kentucky Right to Work Committee, in cooperation with the National Right to Work Committee, saw real progress toward passage of Right to Work in the Bluegrass State begin in 2013. Despite then House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s efforts to bury the legislation, Right to Work advocates forced a first-ever hearing on the Bill.
Encouraged by that initial progress, Right to Work supporters renewed their efforts in 2014, and with the help of then Minority Leader Jeff Hoover and State Representative Jim DeCesare, succeeded in getting not only hearings but also a committee vote on the Bill for the first time.
Then the 2015 legislative session opened with a bang, with the Senate voting early on, by a vote of 24-12, to pass Right to Work.
The progress Right to Work supporters had made placed the forced-unionism issue front and center in the 2015 gubernatorial election.
And so, voters in the Bluegrass State recognized the need for a pro-Right to Work Governor and elected outspoken forced-unionism opponent Matt Bevin, leaving the House as the sole remaining roadblock to passage of a state Right to Work law that would end forced unionism once and for all in Kentucky.
The recent November elections brought the most exciting news yet for pro-Right to Work Kentuckians. In race after race, the forced-unionism issue played a positive role as voters all across the Commonwealth sent many forced-unionism supporters packing — including now-former House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
And with the mostly pro-Right to Work Republican Party now in control of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time since the 1920’s, pro-Right to Work Kentuckians entered the last mile of the journey.
With Governor Bevin’s signing of H.B. 1, the Right to Work law will free some 185,000 workers in the Bluegrass State who are forced to pay tribute to a union boss as a condition of employment — or else be fired.
With Right to Work, Kentucky’s Future Looks Bright
Not only will the Kentucky Right to Work law free those workers from the shackles of compulsory unionism, but proponents of the legislation expect that enactment of the Right to Work law will provide significant economic benefits for Kentucky and workers in the state.
For the past decade, private sector job growth in Right to Work states has grown twice as fast compared to that in non-Right to Work states like Missouri, New Hampshire and – heretofore – Kentucky.
And those jobs Right to Work states are gaining are good, high-paying jobs.
According to data from the Departments of Labor and Commerce, from 2005 to 2015, real private sector employee pay and benefits in Right to Work states grew by nearly 17% — almost a third more growth than forced unionism states as a whole saw and more than double what Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire saw individually.
“With the benefits to personal liberty and economic prosperity that go along with Right to Work, and numerous studies demonstrating broad support for Right to Work among voters in state after state, including Missouri and New Hampshire,” Mark Mix noted that “the issue is unlikely to go away in state capitols until politicians put an end to Big Labor’s coercive forced unionism privileges once and for all. And as recent history demonstrates, politicians will either realize that or pay a price at the polls.”
The National Right to Work Committee, established in 1955, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, single-purpose citizens’ organization dedicated to the principle that all Americans must have the right to join a union if they choose to, but none should ever be forced to affiliate with a union in order to get or keep a job. Its web address is www.nrtwc.org