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Kentucky’s Right-to-Work Law Upheld by Court

A Kentucky state court judge has granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Teamsters’ Local 89 from Louisville, which claimed that Kentucky’s new Right-to-Work Act constituted a “taking” by the state in violation of the Kentucky Constitution.

The state’s constitution prohibits the state from “taking … private property for public use without compensation.” The Teamsters argued that the new law constituted a “taking” because it allowed “freeloaders” to have the benefit of union services without having to pay dues.

But Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate disagreed. In his ruling, he concluded that “Plaintiffs lack a property interest which the government could take, despite plaintiffs’ assertion that future union services and union security contract clauses both constitute property interests.”

The union also alleged violations of the equal protection and arbitrary action provisions of the state constitution. Judge Wingate also dismissed those claims.

According to media accounts, the Teamsters and the Kentucky AFL-CIO will immediately appeal the decision. AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said in a statement that “we believe our higher courts will recognize the harmful effect that this unjust and discriminatory law has on our workers and their unions which are required union federal law to represent all workers in a bargaining unit including those who choose to withhold dues and fees.”

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About this Author

Gerald Lutkus, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, South Bend, Labor and Employment Attorney,
Partner

Gerald F. (Jerry) Lutkus is a partner in the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where he is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Departments. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law counseling and litigation, arbitration, collective bargaining, and media law. Mr. Lutkus has been recognized on the Indiana Super Lawyers list for his work in labor and employment Law. The Best Lawyers in America has recognized Mr. Lutkus for over 10 years for his work in commercial litigation, employment law - management...

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