Kentucky Becomes A Right To Work State

On Saturday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed legislation making Kentucky the 27th state in the Union where workers have the freedom to seek employment without paying a kickback to labor unions.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Saturday signed controversial legislation that will allow workers to refuse to pay union dues, a victory for Republicans who control the state government for the first time in nearly a century.

The so-called right-to-work law passed the Kentucky state Senate on Saturday. The House, which Republicans captured in November’s elections, passed the law last week.

The law also banned state employees from striking and eliminated Kentucky’s prevailing wage act, sort of a Davis-Bacon, Jr., that artificially drove up the cost of large public works projects. As an aside, the prevailing wage laws have their origins in the 1930s as Southern blacks migrated North. Prevailing wage acts destroyed the competitiveness of companies employing black construction workers and building tradesmen by artificially increasing wages for jobs.

Just last year, West Virginia also became right-to-work. This marks a huge cultural shift in Appalachia where unionization has broad support because of the heritage of John L. Lewis and the United Mine Works. When unions have become so oppressive and damaging that the offspring of coal miners who were freed from peonage by the UMW reject unions, you know things have gotten pretty bad.