Local News

Thousands of state employees in Kentucky can again join labor unions, following an  executive order signed Monday by Governor Steve Beshear.

The order re-establishes an advisory panel for state workers to communicate their concerns with the administration.    It allows the workers to be represented by labor unions in talks with the state, but they’re prohibited from going on strike.

Spokesman David Patterson with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says his union is ready to sign up as many as 12,000 Kentucky workers,  including corrections officers,  social service employees and some hospital staff.

 “We’ve been meeting and talking with state employees for the past few months in anticipation of this and we’ve got nothing but positive responses, and we believe that this has been a long time coming,”  Patterson said.

Beshear’s executive order goes into effect July 1. The state advisory panel was first established by former Governor Paul Patton, but was abolished by his successor,  Ernie Fletcher.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."