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Hart County Passes Right to Work Law

David Benbennick, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Hart County has joined 12 other Kentucky counties in passing a local right-to-work law. The fiscal court gave final approval of the ordinance this week.

The measure would prohibit employers from requiring workers to join a union or pay dues. While Hart County doesn’t have any unionized businesses, local leaders say the ordinance would protect workers in the future if a unionized company decided to locate there.

The new Republican majority in the General Assembly is expected to pass a statewide right-to-work law in 2017, but Hart County Judge-Executive Terry Martin says he wants to be proactive. "We're not guaranteed the legislature will do this. You know politics. When it gets in Frankfort, something comes up. It doesn't get done or gets put off until later."

Martin says he thinks the local law will make Hart County more attractive to prospective industries. "Just having that opportunity for a business to locate here, knowing that they won't have to worry about strikes if unions come in, that they can depend on their workers, and that workers have a choice, is a big advantage."

Hart County leaders were bolstered by a recent federal appeals court ruling. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a U.S. District judge who had struck down Hardin County’s right to work ordinance.

But the lawsuit isn’t over yet. Labor unions are expected to ask the full appellate court to reconsider the case.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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