National Right to Work Committee Opposes Local RTW Ordinances (For All the Wrong Reasons)


With counties across Kentucky rapidly passing unprecedented “Right-to-Work” ordinances, activists and lobbies on both sides of the issue are scrambling to establish their position on what they once thought would only be a state-level type legislation. This is not limited to “Right-to-Work” opponents. The National Right to Work Committee has actually come out against these local-level laws.

The group initially posted a disapproval notice on its website, and has since suggested they do not believe the ordinances will stand. From Moshe Marvit’s In These Times piece:

In an article published on the committee’s website, Stan Greer, a senior research associate at the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, a close affiliate of the NRWC, stated that “there is zero reason to believe that any local Right to Work ordinances adopted in Kentucky or any other state will be upheld in court.” The article cited a 1990 District Court decision—which William Messenger, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staffer, had said was no longer good law when he was a participant in the Heritage panel.

While throwing insults at unions in typical NRWC fashion, Greer concluded that the reasoning in Conway’s advisory opinion was sound. “As a Big Labor-backed politician, Conway is certainly biased, but his position is in fact consistent with legal precedents.”

What brought about this dramatic reversal by a group that has promoted right-to-work in all of its manifestations for decades? It’s hard to say. But the group’s reversal is not likely the result of legal precedent and the advisory opinion of a Democratic politician such as Conway. National Right to Work has pushed cases to the Supreme Court that had far worse odds than this, and nothing cited in Conway’s advisory opinion was unknown to the National Right to Work attorney who promoted this idea several months ago.

Nobody is holding their breath for the NRWC to let up on pushing anti-union legislation more broadly. Rather, the organization views attempts at local “Right-to-Work” as a threat to their traditional model of passing statewide legislation, Marvit writes:

Perhaps this approach to right-to-work is a deviation too far for a group that has remained relatively consistent in its pursuit of right-to-work laws. Though they generally support any position that weakens unions, the group may not feel comfortable experimenting with new strategies after decades of sticking to what has proven to be a tried-and-true model. Or it may simply be the result of internal bickering among groups that, though they may share a goal of blocking worker organizing, each have their own agendas.

To read more about local “Right-to-Work,” the organizations pushing it, the lawyers and 501 (c) (4)’s that are ultimately going to pay the bill for defending it in court, and the lack of transparency that will veil the true intent of the process, read Marvit’s entire piece

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