A New Year usually brings fresh beginnings, but in states like Kentucky, anti-union legislation including Right-to-Work keeps rearing its ugly head.

Governor Matt Bevins is advocating Bluegrass state lawmakers to adopt a Right to Work agenda — policies that will hurt IAFF members and their families by making their communities less safe. The average worker in states with Right to Work laws make less compared to workers in other states. Those who favor Right to Work support big businesses and their bottom line. In addition, the harmful legislation will make it harder for members to provide for their families and give back to their communities. It makes communities weaker and in some states where Right to Work has been pushed our opponents have publicly admitted that Right to Work would LOWER wages of workers.

For the majority of 2015, groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Heritage Foundation and Protect My Check collaborated and used Kentucky as a testing ground to pass Right to Work ordinances in a dozen cities and towns in the state.

For those groups, the strategy to introduce Right to Work laws in municipalities instead of statehouses makes it harder for labor unions to fight and thwart the negative attacks.

And, in too many cases, supporters of such harmful legislation are duplicitous in how they market it to citizens, saying it will drum up more business and help local economies.

However, the IAFF knows and continues to educate members about how detrimental Right to Work laws are for middle class families. The rate of workplace deaths is 54.4 percent higher in states with these laws. In addition, median household income in states with these laws is $6,568, 11.8 percent less than in others states ($49,220 vs. $55,788).

Kentucky’s legislative session opens this week with more harmful legislation that could potentially affect how IAFF members protect their communities and families on the agenda. In addition, the governor is planning to slash the state budget, and his administration has issued a moratorium on hiring new state employees.

Governor Bevins seems all too willing to go along with plans that are not good for workers. In Right to Work states, it has been proven time and time again that workers and their families are left behind, while big businesses and their owners are the only ones that thrive.

The IAFF will continue to stay vigilant against these harmful bills that affect its members’ lives and livelihoods.