Tennessee Voters To Decide If ‘Right To Work’ Becomes A Part of State Constitution

Image Credit: tnrighttowork.com

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn]-

This November 8th, Tennessee voters will get to decide whether to add ‘Right to Work’ as a permanent component of the State Constitution.

Set to appear on the statewide ballot in November, Amendment 1 would enshrine Tennessee’s current Right to Work law in the State Constitution.

The state’s right-to-work law, which has been in place since 1947, allows workers across the state to elect whether they would like to join a union. Without a right-to-work law, unions can require membership as a condition of employment.

Tennessee is one of 27 states with right-to-work laws and state’s Republican leaders are looking to take that further by making Right To Work a constitutional amendment.

Historically, the law has been heavily supported by Tennessee’s Republican supermajority and the push to add it as an amendment to the Constitution is no different.

On the Yes on 1 campaign leadership team, Governor Bill Lee serves as statewide chairman and former Governor Bill Haslam serves as Treasurer.

The campaign’s leadership council consists of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Speaker Cameron Sexton, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, House Majority Leader William Lamberth, and Rep. Chris Todd, among others.

The campaign also has county chairpersons in all 95 Tennessee counties, the majority of which is filled by Republican Representatives and Senators.

The group states that Right to Work has led to “higher real income growth, higher employment growth and higher population growth,” in its case for adding it to the Constitution.

As part of the Yes on 1 informational campaign, the group claims that President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Democrat leaders in the U.S. Congress want to “ban Right to work so they can force people to pay union dues that go to get them re-elected.”

Critics, however, claim that such statements are incorrect.

Alyssa Hansen of Tennessee’s AFL-CIO Labor Council, says that the language used in the Yes on 1 campaign is “fear mongering” and that changing the State’s Constitution “only serves big business and corporate interests” and does “nothing to help working families in Tennessee’s 95 counties.”

Hansen claims that the push to add Right to Work to the State’s Constitution is part of a “partisan agenda” and warns that adding an amendment to the Constitution is easy, but “much more difficult to reverse that decision.”

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However, a poll conducted by the Yes on 1 campaign, conducted early this year, showed that 64% of Tennessee voters are in favor of the Amendment.  

Justin Owen, executive committee member of Yes on 1 and the president and CEO of think tank Beacon Center of Tennessee, said, “We aren’t surprised that Tennesseans overwhelmingly support making right-to-work a fundamental constitutional right. Tennesseans understand that voting yes on 1 will protect their First Amendment freedom of association.” 

Bradley Jackson, Yes on 1 executive committee member and president and CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, said, “The poll results prove what Tennesseans already know: that right-to-work is critical to jobs and opportunity in our state.  Amendment 1 will help keep our foot on the gas when it comes to job creation in Tennessee.”

Amendment opponents believe it would unfairly require unions to represent all workers, even those who do not pay dues, creating a free-rider issue by getting all the benefits of being in the union without paying dues.

Brandon Puttbrese, press secretary for the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus, said, “The anti-worker ballot initiative to amend Tennessee’s constitution will further destroy the freedom workers have to negotiate for better pay and benefits.  Policies like this tip the scales of power toward big corporations. That’s not a free market – that’s market manipulation against workers, union and non-union. Tennesseans already earn $10,000 less a year than the average American worker. This amendment will only make our low-wage, no-benefit economy worse.”

With the Right to Work law already in place in Tennessee, voters will decide whether they want to give it the added power of being ‘Constitutional’ or leave it as is, which means it could potentially be altered or done away with completely should the political climate change in the General Assembly.

As Rep. Chris Todd [R-Madison County] explained, the goal is to show potential businesses coming to the state that right-to-work laws will remain on the books despite federal pressures or the whims of the legislature.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

2 thoughts on “Tennessee Voters To Decide If ‘Right To Work’ Becomes A Part of State Constitution

  • June 21, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Maybe…sure… Before making R-to-W constitutional, it might be be more useful to bar/ban public employee unions. In blue states public unions mesh with leftist politicians creating a commie like cartel.

  • June 22, 2022 at 8:42 am

    V.Z. w/friends over the wkend we had this same discussion. Public Employee unions & pensions eventually strangle cities, counties, states and let’s not 4gt the federal expenditures, causing tax payers to fund four levels of lifetime benefits. Some of them continue past lifetime to spouse/dependents. In my view, a great many public positions/careers do very little other than charge fees and fines to perpetuate their own fifedoms. I recall many yrs ago Corpus Christie public employees were given a limited window to have their % deposited in investment accounts, years later they all retired millionaires. Oh yeah, the unions & some politicians freaked out and have blocked any further programs they could not control.
    That should tell us everything we need to know.


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