A federal judge says local governments in Kentucky cannot ban mandatory labor union membership as a condition of employment.
In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Hale said only state governments have the authority to opt out of a federal law that allows closed shop or agency shop agreements, which require employees to join a labor union or pay union dues regardless if they are a union member.
Kentucky Republicans have tried to ban such agreements, arguing they act as a disincentive for companies to come to the state and hire workers. Tired of waiting, 12 Kentucky counties passed their own bans. Labor unions sued, challenging Hardin County's ban in federal court.
Hardin County officials could choose to appeal the ruling.
Kentucky was the first state in the nation to have local governments pass these laws.