Kentucky’s right-to-work law went into effect Monday, after passing the state Senate over the weekend, and getting Republican Governor Matt Bevin’s signature.
The legislation bans mandatory labor union dues, repeals the state’s prevailing wage law, and bans union dues from being used for political donations. The actions were conducted by the state’s Republican majorities in the House and Senate, fulfilling campaign promises made by conservative candidates in the fall.
“This will mean incredible new opportunities for the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” the governor said. “I’m very pleased, This put a sign on the front door of Kentucky that we’re open for business,” Dave Adkisson, president of the Kentucky chamber of commerce, said.
Labor unions protested the new measures, packing the state legislative building Saturday with chants of “union power!”
“We need you to talk to your elected representatives,” Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) implored to the crowd. “And send them a message that we will send them packing next election cycle!” he shouted.
Opponents to the legislation said that elimination of the states prevailing wage law will result in out-of-state contractors taking Kentucky jobs.
“Out-of-state contractors will come into Kentucky and take the jobs that hardworking local folks have been doing on our schools and roads and construction projects across Kentucky,” Tim Morris of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, said.
Labor Unions and ‘Fight For $15’ activists are bracing for the Trump administration. “Big labor” groups, including the Service Employees International Union, are tightening their budgets and re-assessing strategic assumptions after Trump’s victory in November. (RELATED: SEIU Cuts Budget In Wake Of Trump Victory)
Trump is nominating Andrew Puzder, fast food restaurant CEO and fervent critic of President Barack Obama’s labor policies, to lead the Department of Labor. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr.), and is opposed to the ‘Fight For $15’ movement. (RELATED: Trump To Nominate Obama-Critic To Head Labor)
Kentucky is the 27th “right to work” state in the country. The bluegrass state also passed anti-abortion measures during the rare Saturday session, banning abortions after 20 weeks.
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