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Tennessee's Labor Movement Urges Governor Bill Lee to Focus on Problem Solving, Not Partisan Talking Points

Alyssa Hansen
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Tennessee AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus issued the following statement in response to Governor Bill Lee's State of the State address.

"Over the past four years, it’s become abundantly clear that Governor Bill Lee repeatedly uses this annual address to craft an image of Tennessee that is vastly different from what working families experience every day. Tonight’s remarks were no exception. Rather than demonstrating a willingness to work across the aisle and solve the multiple, real problems facing our state in a bipartisan fashion, Governor Lee instead showed that he’s more focused on solidifying and furthering the supermajority’s purely partisan wish list.

For example, if one of the governor’s goals is to continue growing Tennessee’s skilled workforce, he should recognize the value of and actually highlight the importance of union labor. Our organization is proud to represent the most well-trained and highly-skilled workers who are currently involved in various projects throughout the state, including the construction of Blue Oval City at the Memphis Regional Megasite. The thriving economy that Governor Lee and his allies love to mention frequently is due in part to these dedicated workers. Unfortunately, their contributions are rarely recognized.

Although currently lacking in specifics, we are cautiously optimistic about the governor's proposed paid parental leave program for state employees. No one should have to choose between expanding their family or keeping their job. Period.

We agree with Governor Lee that our state is at a pivotal moment. It’s time for leadership to step up and advocate for policies that ensure that all Tennesseans can thrive, instead of constantly pushing partisan talking points and using legislation to target various groups and communities. Otherwise, the rest of the country will look to our state only as an example of playing favorites with your constituents."