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Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Union-Shop Ban

November 24, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

The Kentucky Supreme Court voted 4-3 Nov. 15 that the state’s 2017 law letting workers refuse to pay fees to the unions that represent them is constitutional, rejecting the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89’s appeal of a lower-court ruling. The unions contended that the law violated their constitutional property rights by forcing them to provide services for nothing, as well as the state constitution’s prohibition of “special legislation” aimed at specific individuals or corporations. “We hold that the Unions’ constitutional challenges to the Act are without merit,” Justice Laurance VanMeter wrote in the majority opinion. “In this area of economic legislation, the legislature and the executive branch make the policy, not the courts.” Justice Michelle Keller, dissenting, argued that the law qualified as “special legislation” because it applied only to workplaces with unions. “We agree with the justices who dissented,” state AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “This law applies only to labor unions. It’s designed to discriminate against unions to choke off the financial resources we need because we’re required to provide services to all workers in the bargaining unit.” Read more

November 24, 2018

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