Rep. Jenkins elected president of National Labor Caucus

08/30/2017 04:11 PM

State Rep. Joni Jenkins has been elected president of the National Labor Caucus, a bipartisan group tasked with promoting pro-labor legislation in state legislatures across the U.S.

The two-year term began earlier this month during the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Legislative Summit in Boston.

Jenkins, D-Shively, says the National Labor Caucus will serve as a valuable resource for lawmakers in Kentucky and beyond.

“I think in these times that we’re seeing both in state and national levels, having strong voices for working people are needed as much now as ever,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“I think with the upcoming pension special session, we may be working with the national affiliates as we are seeing policy kind of floating out there,” Jenkins continued. “I think the National Labor Caucus, the national AFL-CIO could be great resources for us in Kentucky as we move forward working on something that’s good for state employees and retirees and for the state taxpayers.”

The caucus doesn’t have a political arm and includes Democrats and Republicans among its members.

Jenkins said the group can provide a sounding board for lawmakers hoping to find more information on how certain pieces of legislation impacted different states.

“I think that they can help us if we see a situation that we can address legislatively,” she said. “They’re a resource for us to say, ‘What are you all seeing across the nation in paid sick leave? Where have other states been successful? How have they crafted their legislation? What were the pitfalls? Who were their natural allies in passing legislation like that?’

“And also, it’s a little late for us on right-to-work, but we’ve certainly got messaging and information about what happens in other states when right-to-work has passed.”

Kentucky’s Republican-led General Assembly made right-to-work legislation one of its landmark bills in this year’s legislative session. House Bill 1 bars labor unions from collecting dues from non-members, and supporters say the new law promote economic growth and give workers more freedom in whether they want to join unions while opponents say it will lead to lower wages and weaker unions.


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