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Opinion: Vote yes on Amendment 1 to protect the rights of workers

By , Guest Columnist Updated: November 01, 2022 3:05 PM CT | Published: October 25, 2022 4:00 AM CT
Jim Brown
Guest Columnist

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is the Tennessee State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and is a member of the executive committee of Yes on 1, the official committee formed to advocate in favor of Amendment 1.

Bradley Jackson
Guest Columnist

Bradley Jackson

Bradley Jackson is the President & CEO of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association and is a member of the executive committee of Yes on 1, the official committee formed to advocate in favor of Amendment 1.

Justin Owen
Guest Columnist

Justin Owen

Justin Owen is president and CEO of the Beacon Center, a nonprofit, public-policy think tank based in Nashville.

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Early voting is already underway in Tennessee with four important amendments to Tennessee’s Constitution appearing on this year’s general election ballot.

Amendment 1, known as ‘right-to-work,’ is about worker freedom and guarantees that employees cannot be forced by their employer to join or pay dues to any organization including a labor union.

In right-to-work states like Tennessee, no one can be forced to pay union dues in order to get or keep their job. But in states that don’t protect right-to-work, employees can be forced to pay union dues even if they don’t want to be part of the union or any similar organization.

Understanding Tennessee’s proposed ‘right to work’ constitutional amendment

Governor Bill Lee and former Governor Bill Haslam are leading the campaign for Amendment 1 and along with hundreds of other leaders across the state are encouraging voters not to skip this important issue.

The right-to-work law is a bedrock of Tennessee’s workplace freedoms and has been key to good-paying, high-quality jobs across our state.

Unfortunately, opponents of the law are misleading voters about what it means. Given the misleading attacks against it, here are some myths versus facts we thought you should know about the right-to-work law and Amendment 1.

Myth: The right-to-work constitutional amendment will make it harder for workers to unionize.


The right to work is neutral on unionization; it protects the ability to be a union member as much as it protects the decision not to join a union. Just as you can’t be fired for keeping your hard-earned income, you can’t be fired for joining a union and paying dues. By enshrining the right to work in the Tennessee Constitution, voters will simply be taking our existing right-to-work protections – for union and non-union members alike – and elevating them to a constitutional right.

Sanford: GOP leaders pushing hard for ‘right to work’ amendment, but are unions really that bad?

Myth: Right-to-work states don’t pay workers as much.


Recent data from the official Bureau of Labor Statistics found that non-union workers saw an increase in their wages by 5.8% over the past year. The wages of union workers, on the other hand, rose by just 3.8% over that same period. Other studies have shown that right-to-work states like Tennessee, Florida?, and Texas have higher employment and income growth than forced unionization states like California, Illinois and New York.

Opinion: Tennesseans should reject government overreach, vote against Amendment 1

Myth: There is no need to amend our state constitution.


Some things are so important and embedded in Tennessee’s economic success story that they should be enshrined in our state constitution. National politicians like President Joe Biden have called for banning all state right-to-work laws, including ours. We believe that Tennesseans, not D.C. politicians, should decide whether we protect worker freedom for current and future generations of Tennesseans.

The Volunteer State has proudly protected this right for 75 years now. By voting “yes” on Amendment 1, you can help make it a constitutional protection and preserve this Tennessee tradition for decades to come.

Please join us in supporting Amendment 1 during early voting and on election day, Nov. 8.

Jim Brown, Bradley Jackson, and Justin Owen form the executive committee of Yes on 1, the official committee formed to advocate in favor of Amendment 1, which would enshrine the right-to-work in the Tennessee Constitution. Learn more at



Guest Columns Amendment 1 Tennessee Right to Work


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