Workers Gain New Freedoms With Kentucky’s Groundbreaking Law

Matt Bevin photo

Photo by Gage Skidmore

(The Daily Signal) Kentucky’s Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, has now officially signed right-to-work legislation–along with other jobs legislation–into law.

Yet the impact of Kentucky’s right-to-work legislation could move beyond the state’s borders.

Right-to-work laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and the payment of union dues a condition of employment.

Additionally, Bevin signed the Paycheck Protection Act, which calls on workers to “opt in” if they want union dues withheld from their paychecks instead of requiring workers to “opt out” if they don’t want their union dues withheld.


The other big-ticket item eliminates the “prevailing wage” employers must now pay on work funded with public money. This involves construction work on schools and government buildings.

These laws could have a significant impact on the national debate over worker freedom. Kentucky is poised to become the 27th right-to-work state.

A Republican Wave

“Promises made, Promises kept.”

That’s how Kentucky state Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, describes the successful push for right-to-work legislation that went down during Saturday’s special session of his state’s General Assembly.

Nemes was elected in November along with a Republican wave that delivered the Kentucky House of Representatives to his party for the first time since 1921.

“I’m calling it promises made, promises kept because we ran on worker freedom, we ran on right-to-work, and we ran on paycheck protection and on repealing the prevailing wage law. We delivered in just the first week of the new General Assembly,” Nemes told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

“These votes for right-to-work were about economic development and about making our state more competitive,” Nemes said. “But it isn’t just about economic development. Right-to-work is also about liberty and freedom of association. Someone shouldn’t be forced to join an organization just to put food on the table.”…

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