Right to Work Kentucky County Welcomes $1.5 Billion Investment

This June, construction began on an aluminum mill ultimately expected to employ 600 people earning an average salary of roughly $70,000 a year in eastern Kentucky. It wouldn’t have happened without Right to Work.

Appalachian County Welcomes $1.5 Billion Mill

Without Right to Work, Kentucky Wouldn’t Have Been on the List’

On a site located near Ashland in eastern Kentucky’s Greenup County, Braidy Industries Inc. recently began construction on a $1.5 billion rolling aluminum mill that will ultimately employ an estimated 600 people in high-paying jobs.

Braidy CEO Craig Bouchard originally announced that Greenup County would be the location for what is now expected to be a 1.8 million-square-foot facility in April 2017.

Kentucky “wouldn’t have been on the list” of possible sites, he said, had the state not enacted a Right to Work law at the beginning of that year.

The aluminum mill, which ultimately is intended to supply the aerospace and defense industries as well as the automobile industry, is scheduled to open in 2020.

Its production capacity “could reach 300,000 tons of aluminum alloy and plate a year,” according to a June 6 news account for the Northern Kentucky (Edgewood) Tribune.

Employees will earn an average salary of roughly $70,000 a year.

National Right to Work Helped Kentuckians Ban Forced Union Dues, Fees

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb said the fact that the Braidy rolling mill is being built in Greenup County is just one of many pieces of evidence that Kentucky’s grass-roots foes of forced unionism were right all along.

“Right to Work supporters played a key role three years ago in helping then-gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin [R], who had pledged to make unionism voluntary, secure the Kentucky governorship by a decisive 85,000-vote margin,” recalled Mr. Kalb.

“And after Big Labor House Speaker Greg Stumbo [D-Prestonburg] thwarted Mr. Bevin’s efforts to end Kentucky’s status as a forced-unionism state in 2016, these same grass-roots citizens ousted Mr. Stumbo from office and reduced overall House Right to Work opposition from an estimated 60-40 majority to a 58-39 minority.

“Throughout the multiyear campaign to revoke Kentucky union officials’ forced-dues and forced-fee privileges, the National Committee and its members gave encouragement and counsel to the state’s freedom-loving citizens.”

Last Year, Kentucky Attracted A Record $9.2 Billion In Corporate Investment

“All these efforts,” Mr. Kalb continued, “came to fruition on January 7, 2017, when Mr. Bevin signed Right to Work measure H.B.1, declaring that it would mean ‘incredible new opportunities for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.’”

More prescient words have rarely been spoken.

Last December 30, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (KCED) announced that the state had attracted a record $9.2 billion in “corporate expansion and new-location projects in 2017, bringing commitments to create more than 17,200 jobs,” the most since 2000.

And this year the prospects for employees and businesses in Right to Work Kentucky have continued improving.

In May, for example, aluminum supplier Novelis broke ground on a $305 million processing plant that will create 125 full-time jobs in Todd County.

Right to Work Attorneys Now    Helping Defend Law From Big Labor Judicial Attack

That same month, California energy technology company EnerBlue officially transferred its headquarters to Lexington, Ky., and turned its attention to building a lithium battery factory that will employ up to 875 people roughly 275 miles away in Pikeville, Ky.

Mr. Kalb commented:

“In addition to fostering a better job climate, Kentucky’s Right to Work law is ensuring that Bluegrass State employees are free to choose whether or not to fund a labor union with their hard-earned money.

“Unfortunately, Kentucky union bosses remain determined to destroy the state’s year-and-a-half-old Right to Work law and restore their power to have a worker fired just for refusing to let them have a portion of his or her paycheck.

“This month, the Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on a legal challenge to H.B.1 that, if successful, will bring back compulsory unionism even though the state’s voters have resoundingly rejected it at the polls.”

Acting on behalf of three independent-minded Kentucky employees, staff attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the Committee’s sister organization, have submitted a court brief urging rejection of the Big Labor suit.

Mr. Kalb predicted that Kentucky’s Supreme Court would ultimately uphold Right to Work protections for employees, just as other state and federal courts have done time and again.

“All the same,” he said, “it’s a shame that the union hierarchy is so determined to dictate whether or not an individual worker can get and keep a job.”

(source: August 2018 National Right to Work Newsletter)