MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You cast your vote and Amendment 1 passed, adding the "right to work" to Tennessee’s constitution.
It got 70% of the vote in Tennessee, but is it harmful to workers, as many area unions worry?
This was one of the more hotly debated amendments of the four on this year’s ballot.
A “yes” vote supported amending the state constitution to add a new section making it illegal for workplaces to require mandatory labor union membership – as a condition for employment.
But a “no” vote opposed the amendment while maintaining a similar law in state statutes.
A "right to work" law already existed, and opponents believe Republicans feared future federal legislation coming down the pipeline.
According to data, workers in “right to work” states earn about $11,000 less per year and the poverty rate is higher at 11%.
“Workers want security to know that they can’t be punished whether they want to join a union or don’t want to join a union and I think this is great for Tennessee’s economy because it’s going to bring businesses and jobs here,” said the bill’s sponsor, Brian Kelsey.
AFL CIO Union President Kermit Moore said, “I was against it and am against it being in our constitution because ‘right to work’ has been on the books as a law in Tennessee for 75 years. We don’t need to mess with our constitution at the whim of corporations and constitutions.”
Kelsey went on to say “right to work” states are thriving, citing states which voted the opposite are losing populations to states like Tennessee.