Tennesseans join to oppose Amendment 1

Published 2:35 pm Friday, November 4, 2022

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To the Editor:
As voters get ready to head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8, leaders from across Tennessee join together in opposition of Amendment 1.
Over a hundred faith leaders, elected officials, community leaders and others added their names to a unity statement pledging to vote no on Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment on the ballot this election. Amendment 1 seeks to enshrine a 75-year-old law into Tennessee’s Constitution. It attempts to weaken workers’ resources to protect their treatment, health and safety, pay, and dignity at work, while at the same time benefiting large corporations.
Over the past several years, powerful corporations have waged war upon working-poor and middle-class people in the state of Tennessee. They lobbied the legislature to amend our constitution by adding the so-called Right to Work amendment — also known as Amendment 1 — that will be voted on in the November 2022 elections. If passed, Amendment 1 will significantly undermine working-class families that bear the burden of our state’s services, pay the highest state sales taxes in the country, and that bear the burden of sustaining the state’s services. At the same time, the passage of Amendment 1 stands to benefit the top corporations in the state, most of which pay little to no revenue-generating taxes.
So called right to work policies were drafted 80 years ago by racial segregationists who feared unions would lead to integration and smaller profits. In 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated: “Wherever [right-to-work] laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.” Civil rights activists also understood that collective bargaining and democracy in the workplace offer the best chance to unify everyday people across racial lines. Thus, they opposed right-to-work policies which represent segregation by another name.
States that have right-to-work laws similar to Amendment 1 have lower pay, more workplace deaths and injuries, weaker family and medical leave policies, lower school funding, and stagnant economies. Amendment 1 harms working Tennesseans. It is bad policy and bad ethics, contrary to the values of equity and justice.
Together, as people of diverse professions, backgrounds and faiths, we will vote against Amendment 1, and take action to encourage others to vote No with us. Election day is November 8.

Jill Weitz, coordinator
Tennessee for All

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