ASHLAND, KY – Members of the Service Employees International Union in Kentucky are speaking up and taking action against a pair of anti-worker laws proposed by the Republican-controlled state legislature. Working people and their families have seen the devastating impact of so-called “Right to Work” laws in other states and are taking to phone, email and social media to encourage their elected officials to vote no on House Bill 1 (Right to Work) and House Bill 3 (Repeal of Prevailing Wage).
“The tricky-titled “right to work” bill is wrong for Kentucky because it is an unsafe and unfair attack on workers’ rights, good jobs, families and the middle class,” said Krinda Bailey, who works at Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. “Right to Work is wrong because it places our everyday heroes, their co-workers and the families and children they serve at risk and it makes it harder to collectively bargain for life-saving equipment, staffing and other safety issues. That’s why my co-workers and I are doing everything we can to urge our elected leaders in Frankfort to vote no on House Bill 1 and House Bill 3.”
“I think that passing a so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ bill is unfair because if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be treated fairly,” said Carol Selvage, who works at Kings’ Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky. “Politicians shouldn’t attempt to silence the voices of care providers like me to speak up in the workplace by striping our collective bargaining rights.”
“Workers will be intimidated into losing their freedom of speech to point out potential safety issues regarding products, equipment, manufacturing and other problems, which could put our patients and the community at greater risk,” continued Bailey.
“We need good paying jobs for working and middle class people in Kentucky. Communities thrive and grow when Kentuckians have good paying jobs. That is why we are standing up together in opposition to House Bill 1 and House Bill 3,” said Kathy McCormick, Executive Vice President for SEIU District 1199 in Kentucky. “Out-of-touch politicians are trying to deceive voters by saying this is about job creation. They are deceptive, their slogan is tricky, they do not want to play by the rules that have worked for Kentuckians for decades. Right-to-Work is wrong for Kentucky and working people should take action by telling their elected officials to vote no on these disastrous bills.”
In a 2015 report, the Economic Policy Institute found that wages in RTW states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states. This translates into RTW being associated with $1,558 lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker. That report can be found here.
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH is the health care and social service union for West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. District 1199 represents nearly 29,000 healthcare, social service and public sector workers. The union is part of the Service Employees International Union, an organization of 2-million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.