Kentucky’s right-to-work law has survived a challenge by the AFL-CIO and Teamsters union. The Kentucky legislation passed in the first week of the 2017 legislative session, making the Bluegrass State the 27th to adopt right-to-work legislation (Missouri was the 28th).
A Kentucky state court dismissed the unions’ challenge to the law, which prohibits unions and employers from requiring an employee to be a union member, or pay any dues or like amounts, as a condition of continued employment. The law does not apply to existing union contracts, only to new ones or those renewed after the law became effective in January 2017.
The unions argued the law’s prohibition of “union security” payments from nonunion employees is an unconstitutional taking from unions and violates the equal protection clause of the Kentucky Constitution. The court disagreed, holding that unions do not have a protected property interest in dues or fees generated by collective bargaining.