Kentucky Becomes Nation’s 27th Right-to-Work State
Bluegrass State first of several likely to pass such legislation in 2017
January 9, 2017|Font size:
By Michigan Capitol Confidential Staff Reports
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy congratulates the commonwealth of Kentucky, which became the nation’s 27th right-to-work state over the weekend.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed the legislation Saturday after it sailed through the legislature during the week. Once the law takes effect, unions will no longer be able to have workers in the Bluegrass State fired for not paying them dues.
In addition to enjoying more freedom, Kentuckians should expect an improved economy, higher wages and more jobs as a result of right-to-work. Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, wrote an article for The Richmond Register about the positive effects right-to-work has had on states that recently enacted it. He cited the Mackinac Center’s Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio:
Vincent Vernuccio of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy found:
Average wages in both Indiana and Michigan increased after right-to-work laws were passed.
Since Indiana became a right-to-work state in 2012, its average wage rose faster than West Virginia’s.
Between 2012 — when Michigan passed its right-to-work law — and mid-2015, incomes in Michigan rose more than 9 percent, which was faster than both West Virginia and the national average.
Between 2012 and 2014, average hourly wages rose by 56 cents to $19.94 in Indiana, 56 cents to $21.70 in Michigan but only 37 cents to $18.21 in West Virginia.
He noted that after Michigan enacted right-to-work in 2012, the issue wasn’t a significant factor in Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2014 re-election, and no Republicans who voted for the bill lost in the general election that year.
Kentucky could be the first of several states to pass right-to-work legislation this year, Vernuccio told The Huffington Post. “We may see up to 29 [states] before the spring,” Vernuccio said. “You’re definitely seeing a snowball effect, and more and more states are looking to give workers freedom.”
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