This week, Kentucky joined a growing majority of states across the country as a “Right to Work” state. This means employees in Kentucky cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues. The new law applies to all collective bargaining agreements (including extensions) entered into after January 7, 2017. The Right to Work law will not impact employees currently subject to a collective bargaining agreement until after that CBA expires. While the new law has the most dramatic impact on unionized workforces, union-free companies also benefit because unions may be more reluctant to organize companies in Right to Work states, focusing instead on other states.
Legislators hope the pro-business law will spur economic development throughout the state by encouraging businesses to locate in Kentucky. In addition to Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and West Virginia are Right to Work states. Although Ohio is not a Right to Work state, some local governments are taking action to change that. There is a movement to make West Chester Township in SW Ohio a Right to Work township in the hope it will attract more business to the already-booming township. If that happens, expect more local governments to follow suit.