LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- People should not be required to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment, a majority of Kentucky voters say in a new WHAS/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.
647 registered voters
WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll
Obligation to pay union dues?
17% Not Sure
Margin of error = ± 3.9%
55 percent of those polled said laws should be changed to allow people to work in businesses that have unions without joining the union or paying union dues. 28 percent of those polled were opposed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky had about 194,000 union members in 2013.
An additional 32,000 wage and salary workers were represented by a union on their main job or were covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves. An additional 32,000 non-union members were still paying union dues and covered by an employee association or contract.
Kentucky is not among the 24 states which have "Right to Work" laws which remove the compulsory union participation. Right to Work is a priority of Kentucky House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover.
"We believe this is probably the most important issue that we can advocate to create jobs in Kentucky," Hoover said when filing a Right to Work bill in March.
"They are basically just anti-union," countered Bill Londrigen, Kentucky AFL-CIO President. "They don't want to see workers have a good wage and they don't want them to have a voice on the job and that's what we provide them with."
The issue marks a clear distention in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a measure last Fall to make Right to Work the law of the land.
"It merely calls for repealing the discriminatory clauses in federal law that allow, as a condition of employment, forcing workers to join a union or forcing workers to pay union dues," McConnell said in a Senate speech.
Democratic challenger Alison Grimes sides with organized labor.
"Right to Work is wrong for Kentucky," Grimes told the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in July. "It's just another word for union busting and as your United States Senator, I will have none of it."