Take Action & Ask Senators to Vote "NO" on SB 650!
During yesterday morning's floor session, the House passed HB 1342 by a vote of 68-22.
In spite of robust opposition from several representatives who recognize the serious impact that this legislation could have on future investments in Tennessee, anti-worker lawmakers chose to ignore those concerns and champion a bill that could easily backfire down the road.
Like last week, we live-tweeted some of the discussion; you can read that thread here or watch a recap.
For the second year in a row, the supermajority wants to tie the hands of businesses that may want to locate in Tennessee in the future by making them ineligible to receive state monies or be required to return them if any votes on worker representation are not held by a secret ballot election.
Click here and ask your senator to vote "NO" on SB 650!
Backers of Amendment 1, which enshrined Tennessee's "Right to Work" law in the state constitution, were quick to claim that the issue boiled down to workers' choice of whether or not to belong to a union.
Ironically, this legislation is somewhat counterintuitive in the sense that a company whose workers choose to organize are essentially locked into a secret ballot election (rather than being able to utilize the recognition option of card check) if they have received economic incentives from the state.
Now, we turn our attention to the Senate.
SB 650 is currently scheduled to be heard this Monday (March 20th) or Tuesday (March 21st). Because this is the committee's last calendar, we don't know exactly which day the legislation will be heard just yet. Once we learn that information, we will share it with all of you.If you haven't already done so, please take a few minutes tosend an e-mail to and/or call your state senatorand ask them to vote"NO"on SB 650. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson is carrying the legislation in the upper chamber, so taking action is critical. Thanks to those of you who have already done so!
The bottom line is this: discussions about worker representation should be left up to employers and employees without outside influence from politicians.
Tell your senator: stop trying to manage private businesses and their employees!
A Brief Look at Some of the Additional Legislation That We're Watching Next Week
Note: There are (still) an endless amount of caption bills on several agendas in the House and Senate since many committees are hearing their final calendars and/or having their final meetings. If we learn of one that is particularly harmful to working families, we will share that information on our social media channels and in our next legislative update.
-HB 329/SB 281: Another example of a bad (caption) bill that's filed almost every year, this would eliminate automatic payroll dues deduction for professional educators' organizations (like the Tennessee Education Association) and create an unnecessary financial burden. This year, however, a pay raise is deliberately included in the same bill.
-HB 1197/SB 1335: Another attempt by the legislature to exert more control over Nashville, this piece of legislation would overhaul appointments to the Metro Nashville Sports Authority; the mayor would be allowed to appoint three directors, while all other appointments would come from the governor, the speaker of the House, and the speaker of the Senate.
-HB 1176/SB 1326: Similar to the previous bill, this would overhaul appointments to the Metro Nashville Airport Authority; the governor, the speaker of the House, and the speaker of the Senate would be allowed to appoint all members, while the mayor would serve as a voting ex officio commissioner.
-HB 1010/SB 707: A proposal that's being monitored by our UA affiliates, this piece of legislation deals with the use of private inspectors (rather than one employed by a local government) for building code inspections.
-HB 747/SB 1511: A good bill, this would enact the "CEO Pay Disparity Tax Act" and impose a pay disparity surcharge on each company whose top executive is paid at least 100 times more than the average income of their employees.
-SB 276/HB 324: After promising to enact a paid family leave program for state employees in his State of the State Address in February, this caption would enact Governor Lee's proposal. Those who are eligible would be given 12 weeks of paid leave. While other legislators are sponsoring similar measures, this one is the most likely to pass, simply because it's an administration bill.
-HB 396/SB 97: This bill would increase the death benefit in workers' compensation claims to 75% of a person's average weekly wage and makes several other changes to death benefits.
-HB 433/SB 12: Continuing to have a negative impact on public education across the state, this piece of legislation would expand Tennessee's school voucher program to include Hamilton County schools.
-HB 806/SB 1475: Another repeat of legislation that we saw last year, this seeks to expand the definition of racketeering activity outlined in the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization" (RICO) Act.
Note: While unions are already included in the original law and previous remarks on the bill do not appear to be targeting us, we will be monitoring this closely, especially given the strong anti-worker mentality amongst many lawmakers.
-HB 262/SB 405: An ongoing attempt to politicize traditionally non-partisan races across Tennessee, this would require state and local elections to be partisan and require judges to declare a party affiliation (or lack thereof) prior to their retention election.
-HB 712/SB 108: This bill raises the wages of preferred service employees in the Department of Correction by 15%.
-HB 774/SB 681: This piece of legislation would enact the "Protecting Tennessee Businesses and Workers Act," but this doesn't actually benefit workers. The complete opposite of HB 278/SB 166 (which was voted down this past week), this would prohibit local governments from enacting policies regarding scheduling, wages, etc. that private businesses in their community would need to follow. Once again, the state is demonstrating its never-ending focus on preemption.
-HB 317/SB 269: Rather than classifying it as a day of special observance, this bill would make Juneteenth a legal holiday in Tennessee.
-SB 285/HB 303: An effort to make it easier for young people to vote, this piece of legislation would add college IDs issued by Tennessee schools to the list of acceptable forms of voter identification.
-SB 850/HB 1263: In 2022, this caption bill was amended to target economic incentives and elections for worker representation at a private business, which is exactly what HB 1342/SB 650 is doing this year. We'll be watching this closely to see if the legislation is altered to continue to target working families.