(BOWLING GREEN, Ky.) — Last Thursday, the Bluegrass Institute suggested that Kentucky counties don’t have to wait on Frankfort to take advantage of the economic benefits of a right-to-work law. One week later, the Warren County Fiscal Court did just that – with the first of two votes required to become the first county in the nation to pass a right-to-work ordinance.
Twenty-four other states have right-to-work laws, which simply means that individual workers have the right to choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues without losing their jobs or being subject to threats or coercion.
“Who would have ever believed that Kentucky would be the only southern state left that doesn’t provide right-to-work protections for its workers?” Warren Co. Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said. “Who could imagine that historically industrial union states like Indiana and even Michigan joined the industrial South before Kentucky?”
The ordinance approved covers only private-sector workers, not teachers or other public employees. The court will vote on the second reading of the ordinance on Dec. 19.
Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters in his statewide newspaper column last week suggested that counties take advantage of a strong “County Home Rule” law passed by the General Assembly in 1978 and found in Kentucky Revised Statutes 67.0873 that delegates the state’s authority to counties to pass laws for the protection and benefit of their citizens, and for the “promotion of economic development of the county.”
Warren County is “taking the initiative” to use that rule to attract companies looking to expand or relocate and the jobs they will bring with them,” Buchanon said.
“Site selectors tell me that up to half of their manufacturer clients strike Kentucky off the list as a potential consideration, simply because we are not a right-to-work state,” he said. “This ordinance will promote economic development and commerce in a way that tells businesses and site selectors that Warren County is open for business.”
Waters in comments to the court before today’s vote touted the economic benefits of right-to-work policies, including evidence showing that individual counties where workers are free to make their own decisions regarding union membership and dues without threat of losing their jobs are significantly more competitive than counties that lack such policies.
For more information, contact Jim Waters at (270) 320-4376 or email@example.com.