Judge Sides with Workers in Ky. RTW Case


While the battle over so-called right-to-work (RTW) legislation rages on in West Virginia, pro-union forces won a big victory yesterday in Kentucky when a federal judge ruled local government can’t implement such anti-work provisions on their own.

Several counties in the Bluegrass State passed laws that sought to make their jurisdictions RTW last year. But a judge ruled that only states can decide to opt-out of federal law that allows agency shops agreements that require employees to join a labor union or pay union dues regardless of whether they are union members.

The Teamsters have been active all across the country is fighting against RTW. RTW legislation does not help regular workers. Supporters often tout that lessening union power in states will lead to more jobs and higher wages. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 11 out of the 15 poorest states based on per capita income are right to work states. Workers in these states make almost $1,500 a year less.

There’s also the matter of safety. A recent University of Michigan report indicates that states without RTW laws have lower workplace fatality rates than those with right to work on the books. How do less pay and more unsafe working conditions help workers?

And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that when it comes to quality of life in the U.S., eight of 10 of the worst states are RTW, while eight of 10 of the best do not have RTW laws.

Taken together, workers are being sold a bill of goods. RTW helps the bottom line of mega-companies but only takes from the wallets of regular folks.