High-Level TN Republicans Back ‘Right to Work’ Constitution Amendment That’s Already State Law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Supported by top Republicans, work is underway to get Tennessee residents to include a “right to work” amendment in the Tennessee constitution.

Governor Bill Lee has declared this week “Right to Work” week, an effort to use his office to raise conversion about the constitutional amendment voters will have to vote on in November.

The list of notable Tennessee Republicans supporting a “Yes on 1” initiative is long and includes former and current GOP lawmakers, from governors to business leaders.

“We think the ‘right to work’ is one of the reasons our economy has been strong, as a state, up there with the lack of a state income tax, c It’s one of the most important things employers consider when moving as they invest and grow,” said TN Right 2 Work Executive Committee Member Justin Owens.

The organization provides advocacy and support for constitutional amendment.

“There are a lot of misconceptions that ‘right to work’ means you can be fired for any reason, it’s a completely separate law called employment at will. The right to work is very simple, all it says is that if you want to join a union and pay dues you should be allowed to do so and cannot be fired for doing so. If you don’t want to join a union and pay dues, you shouldn’t be prohibited from doing so,” Owens said.

Tennessee already has a “right to work” law on the books.

“It’s really interesting to me that they’re pushing this constitutional amendment — you know it’s been law for 75 years under the scrutiny of Republican and Democratic lawmakers and its repeal has never been on the table,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville).

The current law states in part that “to refuse or attempt to refuse employment to any person because of membership, affiliation, resignation or refusal to join or affiliate with any trade union or organization employees of any kind” is illegal.

“We should reserve the amendment of our state constitution for very important things that need to be addressed. I think this whole initiative is nothing but political points scoring with big corporate donors and the interest of businesses, we’re really wasting time not meeting needs and focusing on working families,” Clemmons said.

Governor Lee is making videos to ensure that when Tennesseans go to the polls in November, voters will support “Yes on 1,” a ballot the 50th governor is likely to be on when running for re-election.

Tennessee’s AFL-CIO opposes the “Yes to 1” measure and runs a “Vote No to Amendment 1” campaign. Saying that the law would expand the ability for companies to fire workers at any time and without cause.


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