Unions won’t like what is about to be said, but here it is: Kentucky will become a right-to-work state.
It’s not spin or wishful thinking. It will become a reality, with the only question being how soon it happens.
Unions have seen their power dwindle in our state, especially in the Democratic-controlled House in Frankfort. For decades, unions have had House lawmakers in their pockets, ensuring that right-to-work legislation passed in the Republican-controlled Senate was buried in a union-friendly labor committee, never to see the light of day.
Those days are slowing coming to an end. House Democrats are holding on by a thread, 50-46, with a special election planned for four seats in March. There’s a good chance Republicans will take control of the House this November, which would allow for passage of right-to-work legislation.
Pertaining to right to work, it was disappointing to learn of the ruling out by U.S. District Judge David Hale striking down a Hardin County right-to-work ordinance. The ruling from the Western District of Kentucky’s Louisville Division was really no surprise, coming out of the most liberal city in our state. Unions, who conveniently don’t want people to know that they can still operate in a right-to-work state, didn’t want to challenge right-to-work ordinances in Warren, Butler, Simpson, Logan and other counties nearby because they knew these are more conservative cities where they were likely to get an unfavorable ruling.
Hale’s ruling, which only pertains to Hardin County, stated that the law does not allow county governments to establish ordinances that prohibit union-security agreements between employers and unions that require employers to join or pay dues to a union. Hale said only states have the authority to enact right-to-work laws.
We just respectfully disagree with Hale’s ruling.
We believe, as do those defending the Hardin County ordinance, that provisions in state law allowed counties to regulate commerce and promote economic growth and thereby establish right-to-work ordinances.
Attorneys representing Hardin County weren’t surprised by Hale’s ruling. They now will appeal his decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.
There is no way to tell how the Sixth Circuit will rule on this case, but regardless, this case may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. We believe attorneys representing the county ordinance are correct when they say the higher they go, the better they will do legally.
This matter is far from over.
Courts can move slowly. It could be some time before the Sixth Circuit and the high court hear the case. By then, we may have a Republican House who will do what every other southern state has done and pass right-to-work legislation and Gov. Matt Bevin will gladly sign it into law.
We believe it will happen one way or the other.
Bowling Green Daily News