Right To Work Constitutional Amendment Introduced

Tennessee House and Senate leaders introduced a resolution that would add Tennessee’s Right to Work law to the state constitution.

“This amendment will guarantee future generations of Tennessee workers their right to work regardless of whether they join a union or not,” said Senator Kelsey.

Tennessee’s Right to Work statute has been state law since 1947.  It provides workers cannot be hired or fired on their membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization.  When introduced in 1947, supporters of the bill argued that it would “be a great advantage to the average member of organized labor.”  It also protects the rights of those who choose not to join a union.

If passed by the General Assembly in 2020, SJR 648 would need to pass by a two-thirds majority during the 2021 or 2022 legislative session in order to appear on the ballot for a statewide referendum in November 2022.  The amendment would become part of the state constitution if adopted by a majority vote in the governor’s election.

There is also a strong public support for the resolution.  An October 2019 Beacon Center survey reported that 68 percent of Tennesseans favor the Right to Work policy, while 13 percent are opposed, and 19 percent remained undecided.