State senate passes 'Right to Work' bill, protests pack Capitol

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky legislature has approved a bill banning mandatory labor union fees over the shouts of hundreds of protesters packed into the cavernous Capitol.

The state Senate approved the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

"This is about an entire state. I would ask that the Union Membership, That the Union Leadership in this state, this is happening, Right to Work is here. Get on board and make our state better for all of our people, " State Senator Danny Carrol, R-District 2, said.

The bill will make Kentucky the 27th "right-to-work" state, joining every other southern state. The bill means employers cannot force workers to pay dues to a union that represents them in collective bargaining. Supporters say the bill is business friendly and will attract much-needed jobs to the state. Opponents say the bill is designed to weaken unions and enrich corporate bosses.

"We can say we are extremely disappointed with what's taken place at the capitol today," Bill Londrigan, President of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, said. "We don't want to go backwards, we are going to keep moving forward. We are going to hold them accountable, and we are going to be back in Frankfort ever chance we have to be, to make sure these people here are voices."

The bill does not impact current labor contracts, but would apply to all new agreements.

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