Connor D. Wolf
A Kentucky county announced plans to appeal a recent court decision blocking local officials from enacting their own right-to-work ordinance, according to reports Thursday.
District Court Judge David Hale ruled Wednesday that Hardin County cannot enact their own right-to-work ordinance. The decision found that under current federal law only states can enact the policy. The decision will impact a handful of other counties in the state. Hardin officials plan to appeal the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, reports The Associated Press.
A group of local unions brought forth the lawsuit just over a year ago. The decision was made after almost six months of consideration. Hardin was the subject of the lawsuit, but unions hoped to disband all the county level right-to-work ordinances.
Right-to-work policies outlaw mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
“We knew we were headed to the 6th Circuit, and probably the Supreme Court no matter how Judge Hale ruled, so the only thing this case determined was whose name is first on the appeal,” Protect My Check Attorney Brent Yessin said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The question the judge didn’t answer is, ‘when did the states lose the power to delegate their authority to their counties or cities?’”
Protect My Check was set up as a nonprofit legal defense fund to help right-to-work advocates. Warren became the first Kentucky county in the entire country to enact the policy independently back in December 2014. Several more counties followed, including Hardin. The counties have support from several advocacy groups in their fights against mandatory union payments.
“The states are the sovereign from which Congress gets its power and not the other way around,” Yessin also noted. “The Supreme Court keeps saying the states never gave up this power, but politicians and unions don’t like it. It’s not convenient. It’s likely to cost them dues money and political contributions. But, the higher this case goes on appeal, the better it looks for us, and for employees who want to hang onto their money.”
The appeal may come down to what is known as the home-rule statute. The rule allows localities to pass their own economic policies so long as they don’t interfere with existing state law. Kentucky is among several states which have enacted the home-rule statute. Right-to-work supporters argue this means counties can enact their own right-to-work laws, since there is no state law banning it.