Two labor unions filed suit to strike down Kentucky’s new right-to-work law Thursday, asking a judge to temporarily block the law while the lawsuit plays out.
The Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 claim that the law violates the state’s constitution because it is discriminatory against labor unions by treating them differently than other organizations that collect dues and fees.
“It is a law that is directly targeted toward unions to weaken our ability to represent our workers and obtain good collective bargaining agreements and maintain good wage rates,” Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said at a news conference, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. “It’s part of that low-wage model of economic development that has been brought in by Gov. (Matt) Bevin and his cronies.”
The legislation, championed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, 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 at the beginning of the year. “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.
Proponents of right-to-work argue that the policy helps create jobs and provides employees with a choice as to whether they want to pay into a union that they may not align themselves with. Opponents claim that the policy of allowing workers to choose whether or not to pay union dues undermines the ability of employees to negotiate fairly with management.
Kentucky and Missouri became the 27th and 28th states to pass right-to-work legislation, following through on campaign promises made by elected officials ahead of the fall 2016 elections. (RELATED: Missouri Becomes 28th Right To Work Legislation)
Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin have all passed right-to-work bills since 2012. The election of President Donald Trump and Republicans down the ticket has increased pressure on big labor unions who have been struggling with declining membership for years.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Teamsters Local 89 and Kentucky AFL-CIO for comment, but did not hear back by press time.
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