Tenn. Senate approves ‘right-to-work’ constitutional amendment


The Tennessee Senate conducts business on the first day of the legislative session Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

TENNESSEE (WATE) — The Tennessee Senate has passed a resolution that would add a “right-to-work” amendment to the state constitution.

The resolution was given final approval Monday night — the measure now goes to the House.

If passed, the resolution would be put on the ballot next year, and would be added to the state constitution if voters approve it.

Tennessee’s right-to-work law says workers can’t be hired or fired based on their decision to join a union or refuse to join one.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states with right-to-work laws have the authority to determine whether workers can be required to join a labor union to get or keep a job.

“Currently, 27 states and Guam have given workers a choice when it comes to union membership. Labor unions still operate in those states, but workers cannot be compelled to become members as a requirement of their job. Kentucky became the 27th right-to-work state when it enacted HB 1 on Jan. 9, 2017.”


In 2013, according to the NCSL, Tennessee was the only state to pass legislation, prohibiting waiver rights to join or refrain from joining a union.

This, after right-to-work legislation was introduced in 21 states, District of Columbia and U.S. Congress.

Right-to-Work States

StateYear ConstitutionalAmendment AdoptedYear StatuteEnacted
 Georgia 1947
 Idaho 1985
 Indiana 2012
 Iowa 1947
 Kentucky 2017
 Louisiana 1976
 Michigan 2012
 Nevada 1952
 North Carolina 1947
 North Dakota 1947
 South Carolina 1954
 South Dakota19461947
 Tennessee 1947
 Texas 1993
 Utah 1955
 Virginia 1947
 Wisconsin 2015
 West Virginia 2016
 Wyoming 1963
 Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, state websites
Courtesy: NCSL

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