Stopping Progress

That’s what the Tennessee General Assembly appears to be up to when it comes to protecting Tennessee workers and advancing their interests. According to a recent article from In These Times:

Worker advocates in Tennessee say that preemption laws have repeatedly stymied some of their most important efforts to tackle poverty and working conditions at the local level. Over the past several years Tennessee’s legislature passed laws banning localities from strengthening the enforcement of wage theft, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and mandating prevailing wages, according to the management-side labor law firm Jackson Lewis.

Tennessee’s prohibition on local hire laws appears to be the first of its kind to be implemented in the country, according to Ben Beach, legal director at the Partnership for Working Families, which has advocated for local and targeted hiring laws for over a decade.

Despite overwhelming approval by Nashville voters, the General Assembly overturned the local hire mandate:

The state’s move exasperated local leaders, who emphasized that Amendment 3 had been strongly approved by Nashville residents in a referendum. Jason Freeman, the co-chair of the Economic Equity and Jobs taskforce at Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), a local community group, noted that Amendment 3 by itself was more popular with voters that day than any of the leading candidates. “Amendment 3 was approved a hair under 57,000 votes more votes won by anyone at large or citywide,” says Freeman, “of all the options on the ballot was the election’s highest vote tally.”

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For more on economic justice in Tennessee, follow @TNCitizenAction

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