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Warren County Government Close to Approving Local Right-to-Work Law

One Kentucky county isn’t waiting on Frankfort to pass right-to-work legislation.

The Warren County Fiscal Court Thursday took the first of two votes required to approve a right-to-work ordinance.

The vote was 5-1 with Magistrate Tommy Hunt casting the lone “no” vote. 

The ordinance covers only private-sector workers, not teachers or other public employees.  A final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for December 19.

According to the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Warren County would become the first county in the nation to adopt a local right-to-work law, which means workers would have the right to choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues  without jeopardizing their employment. Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon says a local ordinance will make Warren County more competitive in attracting companies. 

“Site selectors tell me that up to half of their manufacturer clients strike Kentucky off the list as a potential consideration, simply because we are not a right-to-work state,” Buchanon said in a news release. “This ordinance will promote economic development and commerce in a way that tells businesses and site selectors that Warren County is open for business.”

Twenty-four states have right-to-work laws.  Republicans in the Kentucky General Assembly have tried unsuccessfully over the years to pass right-to-work legislation.

"I firmly believe this is the beginning of a movement across Kentucky at the county level to make our Commonwealth more competitive with surrounding states by passing local option right-to-work," House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover said in a statement.  Kentuckians are tired of seeing companies locate and new jobs created in areas like Tennessee and Indiana without ever looking at our state because of our lack of right-to-work laws."

Opponents claim right-to-work laws will allow business owners to pay lower wages, reduce worker benefits and ignore worker rights. 

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.