The Sussex County Council decided not to wade into the issue of enacting a right to work ordinance.
The Cape Gazette reported the proposed ordinance was defeated by a lopsided 4-1 margin, with only sponsor Rob Arlett voting yes.
The ordinance would have barred unions at private employers from requiring workersrepresented at labor negotiations to pay dues. The ordinance did not cover public employees.
The Attorney General’s office and the county attorney issued advisory rulings that indicated such issues were under state jurisdiction.
The issue had been first mentioned by the Daily Signal website of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative public policy group that has pushed for enactment of right to work laws.
The website fears of a lawsuit as one reason for the defeat of the ordinance.
The measure was also supported by the Newark-based Caesar Rodney Institute, which cited the passage of the ordinance by a county in Kentucky, with the U.S. Court of Appeals in that region upholding the decision.
Union opponents, who trotted out inflatables outside Council chambers, outnumbered supporters at a public hearing last week.
Supporters were counting on the ordinance passing, due to the all-GOP composition of the council.
While supported by Republican legislators in Sussex and elsewhere in the state, the intensity of the opposition seemed to be greater than the fervor of supporters.
With a decisive defeat in Sussex, it seems unlikely that right to work legislation will make its way to the state level.