(pic from Timothy D. Easley – AP)
Protests today in Kentucky by union members and union officials, but the vote went against them with the measure that the protestors fear will hurt them being adopted.
This feisty girl got herself thrown out after shouting out that the GOP “hates labor”:
— Nema not NEMA (@nema) January 7, 2017
“These are just union-busting bills. They’re not going to improve the economy any. They just bust up the unions and make it harder for workers to be represented,” said Vernon Soder, 42, a member of Local 20 of the International Union of Elevator Contractors in Louisville.
The union workers said they already represent a small and shrinking part of the state’s labor pool. Union members made up 11 percent of the workforce in Kentucky in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Why would they want any more of our pie? Why do they need to break us up any more?” Kendall said. “There’s not even many union jobs available. You have to really want one to get one because they’re so competitive.”
Repealing the prevailing wage, which guarantees a base rate of $20 to $30 an hour for skilled construction workers depending on their job and location, will cut workers’ pay nearly in half, Kendall said.
FRANKFORT – Angry labor union members on Saturday said they don’t know how they became public enemy No. 1 in Kentucky’s 2017 legislative session.
Hundreds of workers in boots and heavy coats poured onto every public floor of the state Capitol to loudly protest final passage of three bills that they say will weaken unions and reduce construction workers’ wages.
“It’s an attack on the working people,” said Chris Kendall, 44, a member of Local 184 of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union in Paducah.
“It’s almost like we’re the enemy somehow, that it’s the politicians against us,” Kendall said. “And all we’re trying to do is earn an honest day’s wage.”
Said Bruce Rowe, a Pike County truck driver who belongs to Local 14581 of United Steelworkers, “This will just be awful for our communities. Once you cut our pay, your tax base goes down, and we’ve got less money to spend at Wal-Mart and buying cars and getting groceries for our families and shoes for our kids.”