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Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 File Legal Challenge to Recently Passed Kentucky Right to Work Act

Suit Filed in Franklin Circuit Court Names Gov. Bevin and Seeks To Overturn HB 1

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 25, 2017) – The Kentucky State AFL–CIO and Teamsters Local 89 jointly filed suit today in Franklin Circuit Court seeking injunctive relief from enforcement of unfair and discriminatory provisions of House Bill 1 – The Kentucky Right to Work Act.  Plaintiffs believe that HB 1 violates Sections 1, 2, 3,13,55,59, 60 and 242 of the Kentucky Constitution and is bad for Kentuckians. 

The suit names Governor Matt Bevin and Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey as defendants.  Governor Bevin was a prime supporter of HB 1 and signed it into law on January 9, 2017, following an unprecedented Saturday legislative session needed to ram through HB 1 during the first week of the General Assembly’s 2017 Regular Session.

“It is my duty to seek redress from the court in order to protect the rights of Kentucky’s unions to bargain collectively without government interference and prevent the wages of Kentucky’s hard working men and women from further erosion resulting from this misnamed, discriminatory and punitive legislation,” said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO. “HB 1 – Right to Work for less – is simply another element of a low-wage economic development model coupled with a political strategy to weaken unions and stifle the collective voices of Kentucky’s workers.”  

“The Governor and his out of state financial backers were sorely mistaken when they thought they could roll over Kentucky’s working women and men merely by buying a majority of our legislature,” said Fred Zuckerman, President of Teamsters Local 89. “The Kentucky Constitution is uniquely equipped to prevent unequal corporate special legislation and I am confident that HB 1 will be struck down.”  

“HB 1 is an unconstitutional overreach,” said Irwin Cutler, attorney for the Kentucky State AFL-CIO. “Courts in other states have struck down virtually identical so-called right to work statutes because they force unions to provide many costly services to workers for free.  No other state law requires any organization to give away its services, but under this law, Kentucky’s labor unions must do so.”  

Plaintiffs are confident the Kentucky courts will invalidate this pernicious statute, will restore to unions and companies in Kentucky the freedom to bargain to preserve strong unions as they have done successfully for many decades, and will halt this effort to drive down Kentucky wages.

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The Kentucky State AFL-CIO is a statewide labor federation founded in 1905 representing over 100,000 union members and retirees among hundreds of local unions.  Teamsters Local 89 is an affiliate of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and represents over 15,000 workers in a variety of industries and occupations.