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KY Judge Overturns One Local “Right-to-Work” Law; Labor Prays Precedent Will Prevail Elsewhere

Judge David Hale, hero.

Judge David Hale, hero.

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A federal judge in Kentucky has ruled that Hardin County’s attempt to create a local “Right-to-Work” law is illegal, despite the fact that the state government gave local legislators increased powers in 2014.  The lawsuit was brought forward by nine AFL-CIO unions. 

According to U.S. District Court Judge David Hale, only state governments can pass “Right-to-Work” legislation. But the ruling applies only to Hardin County and not the other 11 counties that crafted their own local versions of the anti-union law.

The decision marks the second time that local “Right-to-Work” has been shot down in Kentucky. The first time was in Shelbyville…in 1965.  Labor leaders hope this ruling will set a stronger legal precedent and keep municipalities in places like Illinois from attempting to pass local “Right-to-Work” legislations, which they have done at the behest of Gov. Bruce Rauner.  

Judge Hale, whose entire decision can be found here, writes:

“The defendants skip past the statute’s reference to ‘any State or Territory.’ Instead, they rely on carefully selected quotations from two Supreme Court cases unrelated to the (federal law).”

In a statement following the decision, Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said:

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and nonunion, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety.”

Although Judge Hale’s ruling will put a temporary halt to local “Right-to-Work,” the legal fight is likely only beginning. Kentucky has a newly emboldened conservative base following the election of right-wing Gov. Matt Bevin. Londrigan remains confident, however:

“We fully expect the defendants to file an appeal on this case, and with the strong, strong ruling by the U.S. District Judge David Hale, we feel that they’re going to be unsuccessful at that level, as well.”

Londrigan said that unions are ready to continue the fight:

“We’re going to keep fighting them like we have been.  So far we’ve been successful, and we’re going to continue to maintain that record on behalf of the hard-working men and women of Kentucky.”


One Comment on “KY Judge Overturns One Local “Right-to-Work” Law; Labor Prays Precedent Will Prevail Elsewhere”

  1. I applaud the governor for standing for the work force.

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