Kentucky is pioneering local Right-to-Work ordinances, giving us another potential victory over unions.
For a long time now, the question of Right-to-Work laws has been considered exclusively the domains of the state legislatures. However, there are good reasons to question this interpretation. Now Kentucky has begun a new movement.
As James Sherk reports at the Daily Signal (and originally at the National Review),
Right-to-work’s prospects appeared bleak in Kentucky after the midterm elections. A majority of the state senate supported workplace freedom legislation, but proponents had failed to pick up enough seats to move it through the state House. It seemed no progress would occur for at least two years.
Then on December 19, something unexpected happened. Warren County (i.e., Bowling Green) passed a local right-to-work ordinance.
After Warren County passed its ordinance, two things happened: They saw a surge in interest from new businesses, and other counties began following suit.
Now a dozen counties in Kentucky—including 3 of the 10 largest in the state—allow workers to choose for themselves whether to pay union dues. Local laws now protect half a million Kentuckians from forced union dues.
So now the question is whether or not the courts will uphold these statutes. The unions are (predictably) suing, claiming these local ordinances violate the odious National Labor Relations Act. Sherk argues that they do not violate any law, but conform to precedent.
What happens if the courts rule in favor of local autonomy?
We will see counties that suffer under burdens from a liberal state legislature have a chance to try to improve their local business environments.
Secondly, we will see how the economy improves and prospers with these local laws in place.
Related to this second point, the unions’ complaints about such local authority will be an illustration about how bad unions are for the economy. If unions were such a great thing, then why shouldn’t unions want the same local power in order for counties to establish union laws in Right-to-Work states?