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Three More Kentucky Counties Forge Ahead With Local “Right-to-Work” Laws

KY Attorney General Jack Conway

KY Attorney General Jack Conway

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The northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, and Kenton are moving forward with countywide “Right-to-Work” laws knowing full well legal challenges are ahead.  For years, “Right-to-Work” has had solid support from Kentucky Republicans who control the Senate, but has been shot down by the Democrat-controlled House.  All three Northern Kentucky counties pushing “Right-to-Work” are controlled by Republicans.  

Kenton County Judge-executive Kris Knochelmann told, “We think we have a very good legal argument to win (in court).  But we also are sending the message that this should be done statewide. And if Frankfort isn’t willing to do it, we are.”

Knochelmann drafted Kenton County’s version of “Right-to-Work” along with County Attorney Stacy Tapke.  Their version would not apply to public sector employees, nor would it affect current labor contracts.  

The River City News notes that neither Knochelmann nor Tapke could say how many unions operate in their county or how many of the county’s workers are unionized.  This is not entirely surprising since the county-based “Right-to-Work” push is being orchestrated from on high by dark money groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Knochelman clearly lacks the ability to understand how people in the region will be affected by “Right-to-Work.” Regarding the number of union members in his county, he said:

“I don’t know that it really matters – if it’s one or if it’s 50,000, we are not getting the opportunities for businesses to locate in Northern Kentucky in particular – or the state as whole – because we’re not right-to-work.”

Hardin County’s “Right-to-Work” ordinance is already being challenged by labor unions.  State Attorney General Jack Conway issued an opinion saying he does not believe counties have the authority to implement this type of measure despite Kentucky’s “home rule” provisions. Conway, however, is a Democratic candidate for governor this year in a state that has elected only one Republican to the governor’s mansion since 1947.  


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