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Kentucky Right to Work Battle

Bill Londrigan

Union-busters bragged that right work ordinances would be on the books in 30 of Kentucky’s 120 counties by January 31.

“They have fallen well short of their goal,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. Warren County passed a right to work ordinance in December. Since, only four more counties have followed. Ordinances have passed on first reading in three others.

Of the group, only Warren and Hardin counties don’t border Tennessee, a right to work state.

Londrigan said the state line counties “are low hanging fruit” that “seem to be more susceptible to RTW proponents’ lies about how they would get all those jobs from employers that are purportedly setting up shop just on the other side of the Tennessee border as if they were maquiladoras along the Mexican border.”

Londrigan said grassroots opposition by union members and union allies statewide has helped stall the RTW drive. “Counties the RTW supporters assumed would jump on board have suddenly backed off.”

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Londrigan said two other factors also have helped: a federal lawsuit filed by nine unions against the Hardin County ordinance -- which could be applied to other RTW ordinances -- and an opinion from Attorney Gen. Jack Conway that county RTW ordinances are unconstitutional.

Too, the state AFL-CIO has sent hefty packets of information telling the truth about RTW to judge-executives and county attorneys across the state.

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Meanwhile, Kentucky union members are showing up at fiscal court meetings to challenge RTW advocates from in-state and out-of-state groups. “We have sent a strong message to the counties that organized labor will be fighting this plague in every corner of the commonwealth,” Londrigan said.

While the legal action in federal district court in Louisville and the attorney general’s opinion have prompted some county officials to hesitate on RTW, other county officials have told unions that they won’t pass a RTW ordinance regardless of how the suit turns out, according to Londrigan.

[dc]“B[/dc]ut it is extremely important that we stay engaged so that we have the necessary information to defeat this anti-worker, anti-union onslaught,” he warned.

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Londrigan said Bluegrass State unions have let the union-busters “know that the Kentucky labor movement isn’t going to roll over for them and that we are never going to stop fighting for economic, political and social justice.”

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