Delaware Public Media

Sussex County Council rejects Right to Work proposal

Jan 9, 2018

A proposed right to work ordinance failed in Sussex County Tuesday.

Sussex County Council voted 4-1 against the ordinance, which sought to prohibit making union membership a condition of employment or require workers to pay union dues.

The ordinance’s sponsor Councilman Rob Arlett was the lone vote in favor of the controversial proposal on the all-Republican Council.

The vote to reject the measure came one week after a more than four-hour public hearing on the controversial measure that was at times contentious.

The ordinance drew strong opposition from labor groups and some argued the County didn’t have the legal authority to pass such a proposal.

State Senator Bryant Richardson (R-Seaford) had hoped the measure would pass anyway, like it did in Seaford City Council last month.  He argues it’s a needed economic development tool.

“I’m very disappointed to see that happen.  I think it would be a great benefit to Sussex County," said Richardson. "Most of the people that I talk to are interested in an improvement in the economy and jobs, bringing jobs to the area.  And I don’t see anything happening unless we do have some incentive to bring business here.”

Richardson adds he’d like to see the General Assembly pass Right to Work legislation, but concedes that's unlikely

"I would love to think we could do it on the state level, but with the current make-up of the Senate and the House [both controlled by Democrats], and the Democrat governor, I think it's a losing battle there."