Since Passing Right to Work, New High Paying Jobs Pour Into Kentucky

Job-Creating Investments Pour Into Kentucky

In 2018, a National Right to Work attorney went before the Kentucky Supreme Court to defend the state’s Right to Work law on behalf of factory employees William and Jacob Purvis (pictured) and one other Bluegrass State worker. Credit: NRTWLDF

National Right to Work Helped State Pass, Defend Forced-Dues Ban

2017 and 2018 were the first two years in which a Right to Work law prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees was on the books in Kentucky.

Over the course of these two years, companies pledged to invest a total of roughly $14.5 billion in expansions and new facility locations throughout Right to Work Kentucky.

Kentucky’s best-on-record year for job-creating investments came in 2017. Last year was the state’s second highest-ever investment performance. And Kentuckians have ample reason to be optimistic about the future.

Law’s Passage Was ‘the Culmination of a Persistent, Hard-Fought Battle’

Gov. Matt Bevin, who signed the Right Work law on January 7, 2017 and has continued to support it enthusiastically since, recently summed up the progress in an interview with the West Kentucky Star:

“We have never had more Kentuckians working. We’ve never had higher per capita income in this state. We’ve never had lower unemployment in this state.”

Mr. Bevin has publicly linked the Right to Work law to the recent record-breaking flow of business investments into Kentucky. And National Right to Work members can take some of the credit for Kentucky’s success.

“The passage of Kentucky’s Right to Work law just over two years ago was the culmination of a persistent, hard-fought battle to end compulsory unionism in the Bluegrass State,” recalled National Right to Work Committee Vice President Mary King.

Right to Work Attorney Helped Defend Law Before State Supreme Court

Ms. King continued,

“For example, in the fall of 2015, when Mr. Bevin was running for governor against pro-forced unionism Attorney General Jack Conway, the National Committee alone contacted 150,000 Kentucky households with one or more identified Right to Work supporters.

“The Committee informed these citizens about the stark contrast between the two major-party gubernatorial candidates on labor policy. On Election Night, the pro-Right to Work candidate won by an 85,000-vote margin.”

Having lost at the polls and in the Kentucky General Assembly, in May 2017 Big Labor turned to the state judiciary in an effort to get its forced-dues privileges reinstated.

Acting on behalf of a press operator in Lebanon, Ky., and two employees at the Leggett & Platt facility in Winchester, Ky., attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the Committee’s sister organization, successfully intervened in the case.

Ultimately, union bosses’ anti-Right to Work lawsuit came before the state Supreme Court, and, when it did, Right to Work attorney William Messenger defended the ban on forced dues and fees, along with an attorney for the state of Kentucky.

In November 2018, the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected union lawyers’ claims and upheld the Right to Work law.

Small Towns as Well as Cities Are Now Gaining Good Jobs in Kentucky

With the threat of a judicially-imposed reimposition of forced unionism out of the way, 2019 stands to be another great year for Kentucky employees and businesses.

“An array of recent media reports show that numerous good jobs are being created in the Bluegrass State’s small towns as well as in its major cities,” noted Ms. King.

She pointed to the example of Precision Pulley and Idler (PPI), which in December announced it would locate a $10.75 million manufacturing operation in Maysville.

Maysville is a community of roughly 9,000 people located on the Ohio River, 66 miles northeast of Lexington.

According to a January 2 report by Area Development, the company plans to create 134 full-time jobs over the next 10 years in a factory that will be located in an existing 105,000-square foot building.

Ms. King emphasized that the primary reason why Kentucky and 26 other states have enacted and implemented Right to Work laws is to ensure that employees’ personal freedom to join or not join a labor union is protected.

“But good jobs are an important additional benefit,” Ms. King noted.

“And the soon-to-be-built PPI manufacturing and distribution operation in Maysville is just one of many cases in point.”

(source: March 2019 National Right to Work Newsletter)