By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
Right-to-work and prevailing wage repeal legislation passed on the Senate floor and was sent to the governor’s desk Saturday afternoon, setting the stage to make Kentucky the 27th right-to-work state in the country.
Right-to-work (House Bill 1) passed out of the Senate on Saturday morning, the specially called fifth day of the 2017 General Assembly.
Right-to-work prohibits requiring any worker to join a union as a condition of employment. The Kentucky Chamber has long advocated for the passage of right-to-work legislation and believes union membership should be a matter of personal choice, and the freedom not to affiliate with a labor union is no less deserving of protection that the freedom to affiliate.
Passage of right-to-work legislation will help the Commonwealth be more attractive to companies seeking to locate their business in the state, the Kentucky Chamber contends.
“The Kentucky Chamber, representing thousands of businesses across the state, has advocated Right-to-Work legislation for at least 30 years. This week, the Kentucky General Assembly made a bold and historic decision to pass a right-to-work law, to guarantee workers a choice about joining a union and to tell the world that Kentucky is ‘Open for Business,’” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said Saturday. “We congratulate the General Assembly and Governor Bevin for having the courage to pass this legislation and to make Kentucky an even better place to do business. We are confident this will lead to more jobs and more opportunities for Kentuckians.”
Another right-to-work related bill, the Paycheck Protection Act (Senate Bill 6), passed out of the House Saturday and was sent to the governor for signature.
The paycheck protection bill requires workers to “opt in” to having union dues withheld from their paychecks rather than the current practice that holds a worker must act to opt out of having an employer withhold their dues.
Prevailing wage repeal legislation (House Bill 3) was also passed in the Senate Saturday and was sent to the governor.
House Bill 3 eliminates the government defined hourly wage in construction contracts known as prevailing wage on government projects. A 2014 study by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission—a nonpartisan research organization of the legislature—determined that the prevailing wage law inflated labor cost by 24 percent on average and increased total project costs by an average of 10 to 16 percent.
”Added spending on public works projects by Kentucky taxpayers means fewer public works projects are built or existing projects, such as schools, are scaled back,” Kentucky Chamber President Adkisson said.
For more state government news go to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s The Bottom Line blog.