August 11, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
A federal court in Louisville heard arguments Aug. 4 on a union-backed challenge to 12 Kentucky counties’ laws prohibiting union workplaces from requiring all employees to pay dues or representation fees. The unions, including the United Auto Workers, are citing a 1965 decision by the state’s highest court which held that the federal Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 authorized only states to enact such “right to work” laws.
But a lawyer representing Hardin County, which enacted its law in January 2014, contended that "local governments are included in the word 'state,' even though they are not expressly mentioned," because local governments derive their authority from the state government. “I just cannot believe,” a lawyer for the unions responded, “that in 1947 Congress intended to allow every county in the country… to enact their own right-to-work law." Read more