Right-to-Work Constitutional Amendment Heads to Tennessee House Floor

by Tyler Arnold


A resolution to enshrine right-to-work protections in the Tennessee Constitution has advanced through the House committee process and is scheduled to be heard Monday on the House floor.

Tennessee already has right-to-work protections in law, which prevent a worker from being hired or fired based on choosing to join or not to join a union. Senate Joint Resolution 0648 would enshrine the protection in the constitution to make it more difficult to repeal in the future.

“It is unlawful for any person, corporation, association, or this state or its political subdivisions to deny or attempt to deny employment to any person by reason of the person’s membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization,” the proposed amendment reads.

The resolution, which already passed the Senate in its current form, advanced through two House committees Thursday. It has widespread support among Republicans, who say it provides workers with more choice and incentivizes businesses to come to the state. It has opposition from Democrats, who say it weakens unions and diminishes worker protections.

If the amendment languages passes the House with a majority, Tennessee’s constitutional amendment process requires an identical resolution be passed in both chambers in 2021 by a two-thirds vote. If it receives the necessary votes, it then will go on the 2022 general ballot, in which voters decide with a majority vote whether to adopt the amendment.

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Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Tennessee for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.



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9 Thoughts to “Right-to-Work Constitutional Amendment Heads to Tennessee House Floor”

  1. 83ragtop50

    I resent the use of the word “enshrine”. Guaranteeing people the right to work without having to kowtow to union thugs is a fundamental freedom that has been trampled on for too many years.

  2. Cannoneer2

    Wonder if Kelsey submitted it just as his Chamber of Commerce handlers wrote it.

  3. William Delzell

    Tennessee is already a “right”-to-work-for-less state. What more do you right-wing clowns want? Such laws won’t prevent labor strife and unrest. Tennessee has had more than its share of confrontations between strikers and strike-breakers, and many of the strikes in this state actually SUCCEEDED despite your extreme-anti labor union prejudices. Case in point: the Coal Miners’ Rebellion of 1892 forced Tennessee to abolish convict-leasing. All your so-called right to work laws do is to increase tensions between management and labor.

    1. Caldwell Hancock

      Our right to work includes the right to work for more as well. Union membership, like sexual or religious preference, is just as objectionable, but more so because unions have the power to tax you, – they call it dues and have your employer take it out of your paycheck.

      1. William Delzell

        Right-wing law makers also have the power to tax us to death with REGRESSIVE sales taxes that make nutritious food and medicine unaffordable for low-income people. Company-controlled unions are worse than regular labor unions as company-unions are controlled by the very EMPLOYER that the workers have grievances against.

  4. Beatrice Shaw

    Union Brothers and Sisters unite and stop this insane use of taxpayer money to pass these racist, discriminating laws!!!

    1. Robert Marsh

      Sounds pretty rational to me. I’m all for it.

  5. John J.

    Ha! You have a right to work except if some elected or unelected bureaucrat claims that your work is “non-essential”!

    Unless this “Amendment” includes a provision to prevent future “emergencies” from being used as an excuse to steal or put on hold “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

    1. Robert Marsh

      This is another issue the Legislature needs to address. For some Gov. to sit down and willy nilly choose who is essential and whos not and how many people can ride in a boat is absurd. Unless the Legislature passed a law on the matter any edicts from the Gov are just suggestions to me. No fine or jail time if you decide you want to cut hair if you are a Barber and your customers are OK with it.

      In other words butt the heck out of our business.