Posts Tagged ‘Right to Work’

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pettj20170303_low Jeff Sessions

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Trump Will Protect Obama's Legacy 189876_600

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Elections, of course, have consequences. In the case of Kentucky, Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin has threatened to dismantle Kynect (the Kentucky version of the Affordable Care Act) and to create a Right to Work state.

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Just so we understand what stands to be lost as a result of this election, Kentucky led the nation in the largest drop in the percentage of residents without health insurance from 2013 to 2014.

The percentage of uninsured Kentuckians dropped to 8.5 percent in 2014 from 14.3 percent in 2013. The drop of 5.8 percentage points was double the national decrease of 2.9 percent. The report says 366,000 Kentuckians were uninsured in 2014, down 250,000 from 616,000 in 2013.

The vast majority of the newly insured enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program, which covers previously ineligible individuals whose income is up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

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In addition, Kentucky (pdf) had 189,000 union members in 2014. (In addition to these members, another 30,000 wage and salary workers in Kentucky were represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves.) Thus, union members accounted for 11.0 percent of wage and salary workers in Kentucky, just under the national average of 11.1 percent.

According to the secretary of state’s office, election turnout in Kentucky was only 30.7 percent. Bevin (with 52 percent of the vote) defeated Democrat Jack Conway (who received 43 percent) to become only the second Republican governor in the state in four decades. Bevin’s election gives Republicans control of the executive branch along with a commanding majority in the state Senate. Democrats still have an eight-seat majority in the state House of Representatives.

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In 2012, Indiana became the twenty-third state to adopt a so-called Right to Work law. Now, in another blow to unions, it has eliminated its Common Construction Wage system.

A Republican-backed measure that will repeal Indiana’s law setting wages for state and local government construction projects has been approved by Gov. Mike Pence. Mr. Pence, a Republican, signed the legislation Wednesday and said it would allow the free market to determine pay rather than government boards. Supporters estimate that the change will reduce project costs by as much as 20 percent by allowing more contractors to pay wages below union scale. Opponents dispute such savings will occur and say it will open the door for low-paying out-of-state contractors. The repeal takes effect in July.