January 10, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Lexington, KY – Kentucky moved closer to becoming the 27th state with a so-called “right to work” law Jan. 4, as bills to ban the union shop and repeal the state law requiring public construction jobs to pay workers the “prevailing wage” passed out of committee in its legislature.
“It’s really only a question of when it will happen, not if it will happen,” Joe Brennan, director of the pro-union Kentucky Labor Institute, told In These Times.” “We are very optimistic,” said Ashli Watts, vice president of public affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which has had both bills among its top legislative priorities for more than 10 years. Democrats in the state House had blocked previous attempts to pass them, but they lost their majority last November, when Donald Trump won 63% of the state’s presidential votes and Republicans gained 17 seats in the lower chamber, winning control for the first time since 1921. Gov. Matt Bevin and the House Republican leadership have “made hurting working Kentuckians their number-one priority,” state AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said in a statement, but he added, “We will take this opportunity to grow the labor movement and organize like hell!” Read more