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Kentucky’s Right to Work Law Upheld

The latest challenge to Kentucky’s right to work law has been defeated. On January 23, 2017, a Franklin Circuit Court judge dismissed a union lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s Right to Work law, which was passed into law in 2017.

Under the Kentucky Right to Work law, employers and unions are prohibited from entering into union contracts that require non-union members to pay union dues. The lawsuit filed by the AFL-CIO and Teamsters union argued that the law violated the takings, equal protection and arbitrary action provisions of the Kentucky Constitution.

The Franklin Circuit Court judge disagreed. The judge stated that “[p]laintiffs lack a property interest which the government could take, despite plaintiffs’ assertion that future union services and union security contract clauses both constitute property interests.” The judge further stated that “Kentucky’s limitation of employees from whom unions collect dues is not a taking of union property but rather is a prevention of Kentucky employees paying compulsory union dues.”

Bill Londrigan, the president of Kentucky’s chapter of the AFL-CIO, stated that the group intends to appeal the ruling.

At least 28 states have passed right to work legislation amid increasing pressure on unions to attract new members.

For additional information on Kentucky Right to Work law or any related topic, please contact either Mark McAnulty (mmcanulty@KDDK.com) or Olivia Robinson (orobinson@KDDK.com), or contact any member of the KDDK Labor and Employment Law Practice Team.

About the Authors

Mark A. McAnulty, a partner at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, in Evansville, Indiana, practices labor and employment law, and is a member of the KDDK litigation, trials and appeals practice team. Licensed to practice in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri, Mark has represented clients in administrative and judicial proceedings throughout the tri-state area. Mark counsels clients regarding hiring and disciplinary issues, as well as compliance with local, state and federal employment laws. Mark also works with clients in reviewing and drafting employment contracts, non-compete agreements, and employee handbooks; and has advised and represented employers in labor management and union avoidance matters.

Olivia Robinson is an Indiana and Kentucky labor and employment law attorney who leverages her strong legal research, organization and communication skills as she advises employers on avoiding and defending against harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other employment-related claims in federal and state courts and before local, state and federal administrative agencies.

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