Reaction to “Right To Work” Amendment vote

The provision puts freedom from union dues into the state constitution

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WDEF) – Voters approved all four changes to the Tennessee Constitution on election day.

That includes new rules for who is in charge if the Governor is medically incapacitate, dropping slavery language from the Constitution, and allowing clergy to hold public office.

The most controversial issue was putting a “right to work” provision in the Constitution, meaning you can’t be required to be a member of a union or pay their dues.

The proposal easily passed with more than 70% of the vote.

Here is some reaction from supporters and detractors:

Megan Crisp: “Vote Yes on 1” organization

Tonight is a great night for Tennessee employees and employers, and for continued economic growth in our state. With the successful passage of Amendment 1, the voters have firmly secured Tennessee’s right-to-work law in our state constitution to guarantee all Tennessee workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to join a union in their workplace.


Amending the constitution is a long, multi-year process, and we are grateful to so many, but especially to Governors Lee and Haslam, Lt. Governor McNally and Speaker Sexton, and the thousands of other champions both in the General Assembly and beyond who supported and contributed to tonight’s victory across the state.


Right-to-work states like Tennessee have higher real income and employment growth than non-right-to-work states, and this vote once again ensures Tennessee will continue to be among the top states in the nation to live, work, and run a business. We thank the voters of this state for standing up for this Tennessee tradition by enshrining it in our constitution. 

Billy Dycus: TN AFL-CIO Labor Council

Although Tuesday night’s results were not the outcome that we wanted, we are filled with more determination than ever to keep fighting. Workers know their worth- this is just the beginning of a long battle. Billionaires and corporate special interest groups seem to forget that our state is filled with determined, resilient people who do not back down from a fight. We lost this round, but we will come back stronger and ensure that the working families of Tennessee receive the recognition that is rightfully theirs. 


We are confident that Tennessee can get back on track. There is still work left to do, and luckily we have the hardest workers standing with us to ensure change is made. As always, the labor movement is ready to work with our supporters at all levels of government to raise wages and standards across America. The fight is far from over.”

AFP-TN Deputy State Director James Amundsen

“As a right-to-work state, Tennessee has enjoyed higher employment rates, faster wage growth, and lower government dependency, compared to union-heavy states. By approving Amendment 1, Tennessee voters have chosen to protect workers over union bosses. This should be a strong signal to Congress and activist judges who try to impose the will of Washington, D.C., on Tennessee.” 

Categories: Regional News