The Kentucky House’s top-ranking Republican has introduced a right-to-work bill in his chamber.
Under the measure, workers would not be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. House GOP Floor Leader Jeff Hoover says such a law would create jobs.
“You talk to economic development directors around the state, the biggest obstacle they have in attracting new business and new jobs to Kentucky is the fact that we do not have right-to-work,” Hoover said. “And it puts Kentucky at a competitive disadvantage in trying to locate new businesses to the state.”
Right-to-work opponents say that it would drive down a union’s ability to bargain for higher wages for all employees regardless of their union affiliation.
Kevin Baird, a staff representative for AFSCME, the public employees’ union, says that historically, organized labor collects those dues to fight for higher wages for all workers, and that right-to-work laws threaten those victories.
“It’s a way for them to weaken us, no different than any other political power that’s out there,” Baird said. “If you take away their rights and capabilities, financially and organizationally, then you can’t fight against those parties, you know?”
House Speaker Greg Stumbo has indicated that the bill won’t pass out of the Democratic-led chamber.
Currently, 24 states have some form of right to work legislation on their books.