Right to Work Constitutional Amendment Filed This Week for Second Required Passage in Tennessee General Assembly

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State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) wants to add Tennessee’s Right to Work law to the state constitution.

Kelsey this week filed a Senate Joint Resolution for the 112th General Assembly to consider to add the Right to Work law to the constitution for its second required passage by the legislature. This, before officials send it to voters on the ballot.

This, according to a press release that Tennessee General Assembly Republicans emailed this week.

“In June 2020, Senate Joint Resolution 648, sponsored by Kelseyoverwhelmingly passed the state legislature, which was the first step in enshrining the law to the Tennessee Constitution,” according to the press release.

“Now, the resolution will be required to pass by a two-thirds majority in the 2021or 2022 legislation session in order to appear on the ballot for a statewide referendum in November 2022. The amendment would become part of the state constitution if adopted by a majority vote in the 2022 governor’s election.”

Tennessee’s Right to Work statute became state law in 1947. It provides that people cannot hire or fire workers based on their membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization. The statute protects the rights of those who choose not to join a union, the press release said.

Beacon Impact, the advocacy partner of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, supports the resolution, the press release said. Beacon is a Nashville-based right-of-center think tank.

An October 2019 Beacon Center survey reported that 68 percent of Tennesseans favor the Right to Work policy, while 13 percent are opposed, and 19 percent remain undecided, the press release said.

“While Right to Work has been the long-standing public policy of Tennessee, it is increasingly under attack,” said Justin Owen, CEO of Beacon Impact.

“It is imperative that we protect the fundamental right of Tennessee workers to decide whether or not to pay union dues for generations to come, and the best way to do that is to recognize this right in our state constitution.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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2 Thoughts to “Right to Work Constitutional Amendment Filed This Week for Second Required Passage in Tennessee General Assembly”

  1. 83ragtop50

    The right to work would be a welcome addition to the state constitution. It is ridiculous to be required to join a trade union to get or keep a job. I was forced to join one as a 16 year old just to get a job in a grocery store. Never again!

  2. Cannoneer2

    Aww… did Big Business’ favorite union, The Chamber of Commerce, write this legislation for you, Brian??