House committee passes right to work bill

Published: Jan. 4, 2017 at 3:47 PM CST
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"Working people matter, working people matter!" several union workers shouted.

Despite loud protests from several union members, lawmakers pushed house bill 1 through committee.

The bill would make Kentucky a right to work state.

"Over the last 10 years, the states in which there is right to work legislation have actually seen an increase not only in overall jobs, but in union jobs," Gov. Matt Bevin said with union members beating on the walls from the hallway.

Simpson County Judge-Executive Jim Henderson traveled to Frankfort, because he said it's been an issue for his county.

"Of course us being on the border in Simpson County, we see this more than a lot of others with Tennessee to our south, they're a right to work state and we lose occasionally to projects that are looking at both Kentucky and Tennessee because of this issue," Henderson added.

Those against the bill say it lowers paychecks for working families.

"What right to work laws succeed at is to lower wages for workers, not just union workers, but all workers in states with right to work laws by about $1,500 a year," said Anna Baumann, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

The vote followed party lines, republicans supporting it and democrats opposing it.

"Why then do right to work opponents fight unions tooth and nail and require unions to represent and provide services to folks who will not pay. It is because right to work is simply a clever slogan that is designed to undermine union resources," Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said.

Warren County Rep. Jim DeCesare's economic based committee also approved house bill 3, a law repealing prevailing wage, that previously required a certain wage to be paid in jobs like construction.

House bill 1, the right to work bill, is expected to be voted on Thursday.

Republicans say they plan to work into the weekend to get several of their big priorities passed.