Court upholds Right to Work law

01/24/2018 10:46 AM

FRANKFORT- The Franklin County Court has sided with the Bevin administration and dismissed a lawsuit brought by labor unions against the right to work law, however the AFL-CIO says they will be appealing the ruling.

“We believe our higher courts will recognize the harmful effect that this unjust and discriminatory law has on our workers and their unions which are required union federal law to represent all workers in a bargaining unit including those who choose to withhold dues and fees. Kentucky unions will continue to fight for all Kentucky’s hard-working women and men to mitigate the detrimental consequences which RTW laws have had on workers in other states – lower wages, fewer workers with health care benefits and retirement plans, and more fatalities on the job – all while failing miserably in their empty promise of more jobs.” said Bill Londrigan, President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

Right to work was passed in 2017, making Kentucky the 27th state to enact right to work law.

The lawsuit was filed by the Kentucky state AFL-CIO and Teamsters against the Bevin administration, arguing that the law takes union members property without just compensation and violates the equal protection and arbitrary action provision of the Kentucky Constitution. The court ruling says that “unions do not have a cognizable property interest in union services”, and the right to work law “does not prevent unions from collecting dues from members or employees under existing unions security clauses; nor does the KRTW Act limit the ability of a union to serve as the exclusive bargaining agent for a given industry or organization.”

“The Court’s ruling confirmed what we already knew: Kentucky’s right-to-work law rests on a sound legal bedrock and is an essential economic driver for our state, bringing unprecedented job growth and a record $9.2 billion in corporate investment in 2017,” said Gov. Bevin. “This weak attempt to stop Kentucky’s economic growth through legal challenges has been appropriately smacked down.”

Ben Self, Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, however, argues that the right to work law has not benefited the state economically.

“The Kentucky Democratic Party will continue to stand and fight along union workers for Kentucky’s working families,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self said. “Bevin’s budget director spoke yesterday on budget shortfalls under the current administration. It proves right-to-work legislation hasn’t economically benefited the state but has only weakened the bottom line and bargaining rights for every working man and woman in the state.”

Kentucky Right to Work limits unions’ ability to collect dues from non-members.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at


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