Statement | Unions and Labor Standards

News from EPI Right-to-work will hurt the working people of Kentucky

It is disappointing to see Kentucky poised to become a so-called right-to-work state. Doing so will only lower the wages and benefits of workers, both union and nonunion, and further tilt our economy and political life toward dominance by big business and the wealthy. Moreover, right-to-work will weaken the ability of unions to provide a voice for workers in the political and legislative realms—likely the major reason the newly empowered Republicans want to pass it.

The effort to end prevailing wage provisions in public construction is a similar effort, though it directly lowers wages, and reveals the purpose of these legislative actions. Repealing prevailing wage laws rewards low-road contractors that make their profits by cutting wages to the bone. The repeal will undermine the quality of Kentucky’s public construction, reduce the safety and health of construction workers, and won’t create any jobs at all.

The combination of right to work and repeal of the prevailing wage law is a double-barreled attack on the wages and incomes of working Kentuckians.