Friday, January 13, 2012

Your best shot at protecting workers rights in the legislature

      The Tennessee legislature went into session this week, spending most of its time fighting over re-districting lines. But it won't take long before legislators begin debating bills that will have a big impact on the rights of workers across our state.

      Workers Interfaith Network wants to help advocates like you be more prepared and informed this year. That's why we're launching a brand new email list dedicated to tracking and taking action on worker rights bills in the legislature. Sign up here so that you'll know exactly what to do when critical bills come up, like:
  • positive bills that will create fair raises for Tennessee's public higher education workers
  • negative bills that will repeal our local living wage and prevailing wage laws
  • negative bills that will take away the voice of union members in our political process
  • negative bills that scapegoat immigrant workers and don't protect their labor rights.
      You may have noticed a pattern: a lot more negative proposals than positive ones. If you kept up with 2011 legislative session, you know that workers' rights were under heavy attack.

      Tennessee's teachers were stripped of the collective bargaining rights they had for over 30 years. Legislators passed a bill that gives permission to local government contractors to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation. Another law passed requires Tennessee employers to use the deeply flawed e-verify system to check workers' immigration status, an act that will surely lead to hiring discrimination against job applicants who look or sound foreign.

      If you're like me, you're ready to let legislators know that you expect them to stand up for Tennessee's workers, not attack them. So please, sign up for legislative alerts today.

     You may be asking, "If I already get emails from WIN, do I need to sign up for legislative alerts?" Yes, if you want to take action at the legislature, please sign up. This is a separate list from our general WIN email list, which mostly concerns local Memphis issues.

     How else can you stand with Tennessee's workers at the legislature this year?
  • Share this post on your Twitter or Facebook page, or easily email to your friends by clicking on one of the buttons at the end of this post. Let people know why you're signing up for alerts, and encourage them to as well. We need folks from every county in the state to sign up!
  • If you're part of a union, community group, or congregation that has a gathering coming up, use our print sign up sheet to collect names of others who want to be on the list. Then, just mail it back to WIN using the address at the bottom of the sign up sheet.
  • Save the date for a worker rights lobby day in Nashville on Wednesday, March 7th.  Transportation will be available from Memphis and Knoxville, and may be available from other cities too. More information will be coming soon on the blog and through the legislative alert email list.

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