Right to work states shown in turquoise. Map from Wikipedia
Will the unions rally support for Dems in November with right to work on the table?
(October 11, 2014) - A rainy Saturday in Paducah became the center of Kentucky's organized labor movement for a few hours. Labor union members and retirees sat in the cold and listened to Democratic politicians instruct, plead and exhort them to get to the polls on November 4th.
It remains to be seen if the effort will be enough to bring victory to Democrats who are fighting to hold on to a majority in the Kentucky House and to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who is looking to unseat the man who is arguably the top Republican in America.
Labor has generally supported Democrats in the past, though endorsements have gone to GOP incumbents seen friendly to labor concerns. First District House Representative Steven Rudy, whose district includes precincts in Paducah, enjoys labor support. With Republicans openly saying they will pass right-to-work legislation, organized labor is - well- getting organized.
Right-to-work states allow employees to enjoy labor protection without paying dues to labor unions. Supporters of right to work argue that the worker has a right not to be forced to join a union. Opponents argue that right to work suppresses wages and benefits and cripples unions. Western and Southern states, like neighboring Tennessee, make up the twenty four right to work states. If Republicans win the House and can override a veto sure to come from Governor Beshear, Kentucky will become the 25th state to adopt right-to-work.
Now that organized labor has a big dog in this November's fight, it remains to be seen if members and retirees will come out to vote in a mid-term election year where turnout is everything.
Thousands of union members, retirees braved nasty weather for rally.
Alison Lundergan Grimes in boots and jeans exhorts labor crowd.
Labor unions brought flags and hard hats to labor rally