Right to Work 2017

Get the Facts on Right-to-Work


How Kentucky's Right-to-Work Law is Different

Kentucky made its right-to-work (RTW) law effective immediately. This prevents unions from postponing the impact of RTW laws, as they have in other states. Unions in other states would often renegotiate long-term union contracts before the laws took effect or secure extensions or renewals to extend the payment of mandatory union dues.

Kentucky’s RTW law protects both public and private employees, many states only apply RTW laws to private sector employees.

Employers with Unions

  • Kentucky employers that have existing union contracts must continue to honor these contracts until they expire
  • If the union calls upon the employer to terminate an employee for not paying union dues, the employer must comply. New, renewed, or extended union contracts, however, may not require employees to pay union dues. Payment of union dues must be voluntary.
  • Dues check-off agreements (wage assignment agreements) continue to be valid, unless and until the employee revokes the agreement.
  • Dues check-off agreements do not depend on “union shop.” They continue until revoked despite the RTW law and employers must honor them. Federal law requires that dues check-off agreements be revocable at least once a year and at the expiration of a union contract.
  • Employers that are union free should not assume the RTW law will make it easier to stay union free.
  • Employees remain equally free to join a union in RTW states. In fact, some of the largest union organizing drives in recent years have occurred in RTW states. Unions go where the jobs are. When employees choose union representation, most choose to join the union and pay dues even if not required to do so.