A closer look at Amendment 1 or ‘Right to Work’

A closer look at Amendment 1 or ‘Right to Work’
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:10 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - We are nearly one month away from heading back to the polls for the November 4 mid-terms.

Tennesseans will have to vote on four different amendments.

If Amendment 1 is passed, the long-time Tennessee law would be added to the state constitution.

“It’s appalling to me for the legislature and the governor to promote putting this now into the constitution because that means it’s there forever,” said Gloria J. Sweet-Love, President of the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP.

Sweet-Love says she’s encouraging Tennesseans to vote “NO” on amendment 1.

When voters head to the polls, the first amendment will ask if you would like to make it unlawful for a corporation to deny employment to anyone for refusing to join a labor union.

In simpler terms, employees can opt out of joining a union or paying dues even if workers unionize.

It’s often referred to as Right to Work.

“Right to work is a misnomer. It’s really a phrase you ought to think everyone has a right to work but what it really means in the law is a right to work for less, less benefits, have less safety precautions on their job, and to really have no say,” said Sweet-Love.

Nearly 30 states have right-to-work laws.

Tennessee has been a “Right to Work” state since the 1940′s, but adding it to the constitution would make it much more difficult to change it in the future.

While critics say the law has crippled the power of unions here, Governor Bill Lee says it’s also a key factor for recruiting companies to the state.

“Workforce development has attracted companies in record numbers here,” said Lee. “Those companies understanding that we have an environment in our state that is friendly to workers will be just one more signal to them that this is the right place to be.”

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