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Kentucky State AFL-CIO COPE 2018 State Candidate Questionnaire

Q: Do you support or oppose efforts to repeal existing “right-to-work” laws?


Companies and businesses that hire union labor know that they are getting a guarantee of skilled, well-supervised tradespersons who have spent years learning their craft. A “right to work” law is essentially a law that traps unsuspecting project managers into hiring potentially less skilled labor to save a few dollars. Kentucky industries deserve a labor force from this state who are able to do the best job in the best way possible. I support hiring Kentucky workers and ensuring that projects in this state have the strongest and most skilled laborers.


Q: Do you support or oppose legislation to reinstate prevailing/scale wage laws?


I believe Kentucky workers who labor a full day's work should be able to support their families. I do not believe that Kentucky companies should pay less to employees from out-of-state to do the jobs our strong union men and women can do. Jobs support the economy and the state’s growth. We should demand the prevailing wage for workers with a higher level of ability and training.


Q: Do you support or oppose efforts to strengthen the licensing of and certifications of the skilled trades that promotes apprenticeship training?


Measurable skills benchmarks are essential to the security of our construction industry and other projects. A manager or owner who hires a licensed and certified employee can be assured that the project will be treated with the skill it deserves. It is vital to license and certify our skilled trades just as we do with medicine, law or engineering. Our union members are the backbone of the state and deserve to be respected for the skill they have learned and demonstrated.


Q: Do you support or oppose any law prohibiting Project Labor Agreements?


A project labor agreement is a collective bargaining agreement. I believe that collective bargaining agreements should be enforced as written and that those protections are vital to the health and welfare of Kentucky’s working men and women.


Q: Do you support or oppose legislation to end pay discrimination against women?


Discrimination against women or minorities is best addressed by enforcing the collective bargaining and other union agreements that protect all workers, regardless of gender. Where a gender-based pay differential can be shown, I support laws that forbid that type of discrimination. As always, equality now.


Q: Do you support or oppose legislation to hold employers accountable for deliberate misclassification of employees in order to avoid taxes (Social Security and Medicare) workers’ compensation and unemployment?


The retirement, healthcare and other protections of our society’s hardest working citizens are protected by legislation that penalizes willful and intentional misclassification of employees to avoid paying taxes. We need to ensure a secure future for those who build our infrastructure and make our roads, homes and industry safer for all of us. This can only be done by making sure that taxes and other required benefits are paid in accordance with law.


Q: Do you support or oppose private school voucher proposals and other schemes intended to divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools?


All Kentucky schools, both private and public, provide an education and value to their students. Taxpayer dollars should support the greatest benefit to all students, and that means supporting our public schools. Public schools provide special education for children with academic, behavioral or physical challenges. Public schools ensure that all students receive adequate nutrition and healthcare assessments. Public schools guarantee that all students are prepared for their future in education, vocational work or careers. It is the duty of our government to ensure that public dollars support the public good.

Q: Do you support or oppose the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively in the private sector?


Our unions already provide a right to organize and bargain collectively. A copycat system in the private sector is of minimal benefit. We should strengthen and enhance the existing system rather than create a pale copycat.  

Q: Do you support or oppose the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively in the public sector?


Skilled workers deserve a safe workplace, a living wage and the opportunity to retire when they reach retirement age.  Unions create a group that permits workers to most effectively advocate for these rights. Union organization and collective bargaining ensures a safe and secure future for our working men and women.


Q: Do you support or oppose the right of workers to be free from fear, harassment and retaliation when organizing for union representation?


Kentucky is built on the bedrock of freedom of speech and organization. Our government should protect the right of our working women and men to have safe and harassment-free workplaces. Nobody should be permitted to retaliate against those working for the public good.


Q: Will you urge employers to remain neutral in organizing campaigns and to voluntarily recognize unions when a majority of the workers choose to organize and then bargain in good faith to reach an agreement?


Absolutely. All employers need to be encouraged to respect the hard work performed by unions, whether it be during an organizing campaign or through contract negotiations.

Q: Do you support or oppose health care reform that guarantees affordable coverage for all Kentuckians?


We must make the most effective use of our state and federal health care dollars, including Medicare and Medicaid. It is vital that the state, the providers, the patients and the payors all work together to ensure that the funds available are used to benefit the most people. Healthy workers create a stronger society.

Q: Do you support or oppose defined benefit or defined contribution (401k type) pension plans for public sector workers?


Public sector workers, through the union body, should be able to determine the optimal type of pension for their particular group or field, much as private sector employee groups can do for their businesses and workers.

Q: Do you support or oppose legislation that will hold corporations that receive economic development incentives more accountable for providing jobs at living wages and benefits?


Corporations must, first and foremost, be good corporate citizens. Corporations have a duty to provide the state’s workers with a safe workplace and a living wage. When Kentucky welcomes a corporation into the Commonwealth, that corporation has a duty to support the Commonwealth and the good of its people.

Q: Will you support efforts to strengthen and not weaken Kentucky’s wage and hour statutes?


Yes. I will follow the lead of the unions and organizations in supporting fair wages that commensurate with skill level and job duties.

Q: Do you support or oppose the privatization of state public services?


Public services should be run by the state so that the citizens have the greatest voice in determining whether that organization is the best and most effective use of public funds. The transparency involved in a public service is essential to giving a voice to those it serves. Private organizations may not always be held to the same economic or transparency standards.

Q: Why are you running for office? How would your election affect Kentucky’s working families?

I am passionate about having leaders with a global view of the needs of our Commonwealth. We should not elect someone merely because they belong to a certain group or hold a certain job. We must elect leaders who listen to the people, pay attention to the creation of laws, have been actively involved in the political process and are able to engage in and effectuate good legislation and regulations. My experience in politics, as a small business operator, an artisan and caregiver to family members has given me a wide range of contacts and perspectives. I can see the needs of all sectors in the district and will do my best to serve all the voters, not just Democrats, or union members, or teachers or any other single group.

Paid for by Jack Walker for State Representative, Francis L. Lovell, III, Treasurer.
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