Right-to-work legislation has died in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
The Republican-backed bill was met with stiff opposition from labor unions and House Democrats.
Committee Room 149 was standing room only, with union members crossed-armed along the edges of the packed hearing on a bill that would prohibit workers from paying union dues as a condition of employment.
They say the measure filed by House GOP Floor Leader Jeff Hoover would lower wages for all workers.
Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan says the decline in American jobs is related to free-trade agreements.
“It’s happening alright. Thirty-six-thousand-four-hundred jobs since 2001 due to our flawed trade agreements with China. Maybe we should be talking about that, and not right-to-work," Londrigan said to applause from many in the audience.
But right-to-work supporters like Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and former Owensboro Mayor Dave Adkisson say the bill would make Kentucky more attractive to private companies.
“Our message today is for jobs, for more jobs than we’re getting now," Adkisson said. "I’m absolutely convinced that we’re losing several thousand jobs per year because we’re not a right-to-work state.”
The measure was defeated by a 15-4 vote, with two Republicans voting against it.