Right-To-Work, Prevailing Wage Repeal Now Law

Kentucky joins the list of right-to-work states across the country.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed the right to work and prevailing wage bills into law today.

"It was disappointing. We knew it was coming," says Chad Mills, Business Manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 633. Now that Kentucky is a right to work state, he, and other union leaders, look for ways to adapt.

"We've tried to talk about some ideas to make up for some of the man hours that we're going to lose for this time without the prevailing wage law in effect," he says.

The law now lets workers who join companies with unions choose whether to join a union and pay dues. Mills says he worries more about the prevailing wage repeal, which changes how pay is determined on state projects, and could lead to what he claims is lower pay for construction workers.

"Once they do away with it, our wages will not prevail in any county anymore," Mills says. "So, the pay rate for construction workers in the state of Kentucky will go down, there's no doubt about it."

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supported the bills, saying states with these laws have faster per capita income growth. But Chase Vincent of the Ohio County Economic Development Alliance says it may take years to determine if right to work law makes a difference.

"I believe that research on the effectiveness on right to work to spur economic growth is inconclusive and I'll think we'll have to wait on what the full impact is, and Kentucky will adjust accordingly," he says.

Mills says he doesn't expect right-to-work to be repealed any time soon. He adds before it can be repealed, the Democrats must take control of the House, Senate and Governor's office. 


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