On November 8, voters will head to the polls. This year, you will have a key vote to cast on four constitutional amendments, including Amendment 1, which would enshrine right-to-work in our state …
On November 8, voters will head to the polls. This year, you will have a key vote to cast on four constitutional amendments, including Amendment 1, which would enshrine right-to-work in our state constitution.
Right-to-work has been a Tennessee tradition for 75 years. But it’s now under attack by D.C. politicians like President Biden, who have called for banning state right-to-work laws across the country, including ours here in Tennessee. These politicians believe that Tennessee workers should be forced to pay union dues even if they don’t want to be a member of a union. This would violate Tennessee’s longstanding tradition of protecting our freedom of association, including the choice to join a union and pay dues or decide not to do so.
Those who oppose Amendment 1 might tell you that it’s anti-union. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. By placing right-to-work in the state constitution, we will be doing nothing to change how unions can organize. In fact, right-to-work protects union members’ decision to join a union as much as it does non-union workers’ decision to keep their hard-earned pay. Right-to-work is truly neutral on unions. But what it’s not neutral on is strong economic growth.
Right-to-work is critical to our state’s strong economy. Companies routinely cite our lack of an income tax and our right-to-work protections as two key reasons for investing in Tennessee. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Just look at the economies of income tax-free and right-to-work states like Tennessee and Florida versus states that tax income and have forced unionization like California and New York.
Not only is Tennessee’s economy stronger thanks to right-to-work, pay for non-union employees is outpacing pay for union workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a government agency that tracks American workers’ pay, non-union wages rose by 5.8% between July 2021 and June 2022, while union wages grew by just 3.8% during that same time period.
This shows that right-to-work is not only good for recruiting companies into our state but is good for existing Tennessee workers, too. We need to ensure that we remain a right-to-work state so that our economy remains strong and so that Tennesseans have access to good, high-paying jobs for years to come.
When you go vote, whatever you do, don’t skip the constitutional amendments. They will be on the ballot right under your choice for governor. And as you consider how to vote on Amendment 1, stop and think about whether you want Tennessee to maintain its strong economy and traditional values for future generations, or whether you want us to go the way of struggling states like Illinois. As your legislator, I voted to place Amendment 1 on the ballot because I know how important it is to our continued success as a state. Now the choice is yours, and I hope you will join me in voting “Yes on 1.”
Rep. Pat Marsh is Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee House of Representatives and is the Yes on 1 chairman for Bedford & Lincoln Counties. Learn more about Amendment 1 at TNRight2Work.com.