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Appeals Court Upholds Hardin County 'Right-To-Work' Ordinance

A federal appeals court has validated Hardin County’s right-to-work law, which prohibits companies from requiring workers to pay union dues. The order reverses a lower court ruling.

The decision opens the door for counties across the state to pass similar “right-to-work” ordinances, which have already been passed by 12 counties.

Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court ruled against Hardin County’s ban on requiring union dues, saying that only the state legislature could pass a right-to-work law.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court ruling, saying that counties also had the authority to opt out of federal law that allows companies to enter union agreements that require employees to join a labor union or pay union dues.

Republicans have long pushed for a statewide right-to-work law, and might have a shot at passing it now that the party has control of the state house, senate and governor’s mansion.

Bill Londrigan, president of Kentucky's AFL-CIO, said the ruling creates "chaos."

"It goes against what Congress intended for the National Labor Relations Act, which was primarily intended to facilitate interstate commerce so that there would be a uniform set of labor laws across the country," he said. “It creates total chaos in our labor relations system.”

Warren County was the first county to pass as local right-to-work law and was followed by 11 other counties to passed similar ordinances.Boone, Butler, Cumberland, Fulton, Hardin, Logan, Monroe, Rockcastle, Simpson, Todd and Whitley counties also passed right-to-work ordinances.

The neighboring states of Indiana, Tennessee, West Virgina and Virginia are all right-to-work states.