Time for Kentucky to Get Right to Work

Enacting a Right to Work law in Kentucky would be a boon for jobs and economic prosperity — but don’t just take our word for it.  The Bowling Green Daily News agrees:

Gov. Steve Beshear and the Democrat-controlled House are beholden to labor unions in this state and for that reason, year after year we continue to lose companies and jobs to other Southern states because Kentucky is not a right-to-work state.

Right-to-work laws protect workers’ freedoms by not forcing them to pay dues to a union upon becoming employed or throughout employment. Nearly any citizen in a right-to-work state is protected by a state’s right-to-work law.

Labor unions make up less than 9 percent of Kentucky’s workforce, so it would make sense that Beshear and the House would have more concern for the majority of the workforce. Sadly, they don’t. They need the unions, who contribute millions of dollars every election year through political action committees or other ways to encourage the governor and those in the House to follow part of their agenda, which is not allowing Kentucky to become a right-to-work state.

Kentucky is the only Southern state not to have a right-to-work law. For that reason, many companies don’t even consider our state when choosing plant locations.

Business 101 would tell you that this is simply bad business. The governor and House are hindering our state because they ignore reality. Shame on them. It reflects poor leadership and it holds our state back when competing for jobs that could be coming to Kentucky.

Simpson County Judge-Executive Jim Henderson is a strong supporter of the right-to-work concept.

Henderson said on a number of occasions during the process of trying to get a company to come to Franklin, it was eliminated because of not being a right-to-work state. He said it was communicated through correspondence and other means of communication that not having a right-to-work law is why companies aren’t coming to his city.One only has to look at companies such as Nissan North America. The company admitted that one reason it decided to move its headquarters from California to Tennessee and not Kentucky was because of the lower business costs. Interestingly enough, the average Kentuckian has to work 13 months to make what an average Tennessean can in one year.

The number of jobs created in right-to-work states compared to forced union states like Kentucky are revealing.

According to Freedom Kentucky, between 1996-2004, Georgia brought in more than 500,000 new jobs, Virginia more than 400,000, North Carolina nearly 275,000. Tennessee brought in more than 125,000 new jobs, South Carolina around 125,000 and Kentucky brought in less than 100,000 jobs in that time.

These numbers show a significant problem. A big reason for us underperforming is companies want to do business in right-to-work states. Those who make plant location decisions vote with their wallets.

Bryan Sunderland, vice president of public affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said his organization wants Kentucky to become a right-to-work state.

“We do agree it would be a positive aspect for us to look at. A lot of companies don’t look at us because of that. All right-to-work states have that advantage over us in competing for jobs,” Sunderland said.

“It’s part of our legislative agenda. Not being a right-to-work state is absolutely a factor in bringing jobs here. In some cases, it’s a primary factor,” Sunderland said.

State Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, is a big proponent of Kentucky becoming a right-to-work state. DeCesare has introduced legislation in the House only to see it die in committee.“Less than 10 percent of our workforce is union, and out of that they’re controlling the whole state and where we go. The right-to work-states are the ones getting the jobs,” DeCesare said. “I’m for allowing people to have the option to join a union or not. Some union employees don’t like their money going to political candidates, but they have no choice.”

State Rep. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, has also been a strong proponent for making Kentucky a right-to-work state. State Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, unfortunately believes that Kentucky doesn’t need to be a right-to-work state.Richards, Beshear and others are part of the problem that is holding us back.

State Sen. David Williams, R-Burkesville, who is running against Beshear for governor, gets it and believes that we should be a right-to-work state.

Unions like to talk about their right to join together and organize. This is well established and protected and very few people would question this freedom of association.If, however, there is a freedom of association, there has to be a corollary freedom not to associate and therein lies the essence of the argument for a right-to-work law.