posted at 5:01 pm on January 15, 2017 by Jazz Shaw
That new broom might be sweeping clean in some union halls later this year, sports fans. The Right to Work movement has been gaining ground in a number of spots across the country, particularly since Scott Walker’s legislative victories in Wisconsin. But with some freshly energized conservatives taking office at the state and local levels as well, things are looking up. Those trying to end the control of closed union shops and the state sanctioned seizure of workers’ pay for “dues” when they aren’t even members may have some victories to point to in other areas by the time 2017 wraps up.
One of the first to note is Kentucky, which became the 27th Right to Work state this month. (The Hill)
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.
Labor groups protested the measure at the capitol building in Frankfort. The new law, which takes effect immediately, also prohibits public employees from going on strike.
The unions are up in arms, as always happens in Right to Work states, but at least in Kentucky the job is complete. The law went into effect immediately and it gives workers the right to not pay union dues if they are not members of the union. (What a revolutionary concept, eh?) It also prevents public sector workers from going on strike in the same fashion as closed, private sector shops. With many overhead costs reduced, the state is hoping to attract new employers and business, leading to more jobs and the general effect of a rising tide lifting all boats. Best of luck to them.
Kentucky wasn’t the only sign of positive progress. In Missouri, a similar measure moved forward less than two weeks into the near year. (News Leader)
A Missouri House panel has voted to advance a right-to-work bill to bar mandatory union fees.
House Economic Development Committee members voted 8-4 in favor of the bill Wednesday.
Kearney Republican Rep. T.J. Berry voted present. He told The Associated Press that residents in his district are split on the issue and he’s also waiting for results of a constituent survey to gauge constituent opinions.
The Democrats have a lot of union support there (as in many states) so Missouri probably has a fight on its hands, but the current split in state government control makes it look like this one could grind its way through. Something similar is happening in New Hampshire as well and this one could cross the finish line in only a couple of weeks. (NH1)
The full state Senate could vote as early as next week on a controversial right to work bill, NH1 News has learned.
On Tuesday, following a nearly five hour long state Senate Commerce Committee hearing that at times turned contentious, the measure passed 3-2 in a party line vote. The panel’s three Republicans, Sens. Andy Sanborn, Dan Innis and Harold French voted in favor of the measure, with Democratic Sens. Donna Soucy and Bette Lasky opposed.
The hearing was held in the state House of Representatives chamber and was packed with hundreds of union members opposed to the legislation, which would prohibit public and private sector unions from charging non-members fees for negotiating on their behalf.
I particularly like the quote in that meeting from an old friend of ours, long time conservative leader in New Hampshire, Al Baldasaro. He endorsed the right to work bill by saying that, “I believe that no person in this state should be forced to take a dime out of their pocket to get a job.” Well said, Al.
Those are the first three examples we’ve run across and New Hampshire is particularly big news because the unions are so deeply embedded in New England. And yet the march of progress seems to be moving forward. So… anybody tired of winning yet?