VITAL POLICY – Tennesseans Will Vote on State Constitutional Amendment in November 2022

Tennessee is one of the most financially responsible states in the nation, has a fully funded retirement system for teachers and other civil service employees, no income tax, low unemployment, very low debt, and a healthy economy that has weathered many financial storms. Tennessee ended its 2020-2021 fiscal year with a budget surplus of over 2 billion dollars even though certain revenue categories were down such as motor fuel and mixed drink taxes. Many experts, legislators, and organizations, including the Beacon Center of Tennessee, attribute Tennessee’s healthy economy and robust fiscal status to a policy known as right-to-work.

Since 1947, Tennessee has been a right-to-work state.

Right to Work simply means that workers can choose to join a union and pay dues, or they can choose not to do so. In Right to Work states, no one can be forced to pay union dues in order to get or keep their job. In states that don’t protect Right to Work, you could be forced to pay union dues even if you didn’t want to be part of the union or have them represent you.” Justin Owen, President and CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee

Proposed State Constitutional Amendment

In recent years, right-to-work policies have been threatened by certain state and federal lawmakers around the country, which aim to strip worker’s rights in favor of forced union membership. This has prompted Tennessee legislators to place the question of a state constitutional amendment on the ballot for November 8, 2022, to solidify worker’s rights. Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 0002 which was adopted by both chambers of the General Assembly in May 2021.

The resolution places the following language on the November 2022 ballot as an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution for voters to approve or reject:

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.”

Source: David Seal is a retired Jefferson County educator, as well as a recognized artist and local businessman. He has also served Jefferson County as a County Commissioner and is a lobbyist for the people on issues such as eminent domain, property rights, education, and broadband accessibility on the state level.