On January 7, 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 1 (Kentucky’s Right to Work law) into law. This law took immediate effect.
With this new law, Kentucky will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
What Does This Mean For Kentucky Employers?
A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Previously, under Kentucky law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.
In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.
Therefore, effective immediately, employees in Kentucky cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment