|"There's just an energy in the air," Renee Dillard says of her experience at Lobby Day last year.|
State Decisions, Local Impact
What happens in Nashville does not stay in Nashville. Decisions made by state legislators can change the lives of workers in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, and all across the state.
Just ask public school teachers who lost their right to collective bargaining last year. Or ask a low-wage worker at the University of Memphis who finally got her first pay raise in four years.
That's why Workers Interfaith Network and the United Campus Workers union invite you to join forces in a statewide Lobby Day at the legislature on Wednesday, March 7th.
Your Chance to Be Courageous
Before participating in Lobby Day last year, Rev. Renee Dillard says she hadn't been to the state capitol since a 7th grade field trip. "Lobbying was a little intimidating to think about," she says. "But the training I got ahead of time helped me know what to expect and how to talk about the issues. On Lobby Day, I met new people, and the exchanges we had with legislators were more positive than I thought they would be. It felt good to know I was doing my part to make a difference with workers."
What We're Asking Legislators to Do
On Lobby Day, we'll be pressing our legislators on two main issues. The first is rejecting a dangerous and misguided bill that bans living wage ordinances in our state. If passed, Sen. Kelsey and Rep. Casada's bill will repeal large portions of the living wage laws that the City of Memphis and Shelby County passed years ago. The bills are just one example of conversative lawmakers who say they believe in local government control for one moment, then turn around and interfere in local affairs when they don't like something a city governmet does.
The second focus of Lobby Day will be pressing legislators to pass a fair pay raise for employees at public colleges and universities across Tennessee. In his State of the State address, Gov. Haslam proposed a 2.5 percent pay raise for state workers. While this proposal is a good start, a percentage raise won't do much for workers who are paid poverty wages. For example, a typical custodian at the University of Memphis would get a $425 annual raise under the Governor's proposal, while the University President would get a $7,600 raise.
At Lobby Day, you'll be pushing for a much more fair solution: a $1 per hour pay increase for all higher education employees. While top administrators don't need a huge bump in pay, ordinary workers will use this pay raise to meet urgent, basic needs for their families.
During Lobby Day, we'll also rally on the capitol steps for good jobs and living wages at noon.
Sign up for March 7th Lobby Day
Register for Lobby Day online or call Zach Ferguson at 901-332-3570 for more information. Once you have registered, we'll schedule lobbying appointments for you and arrange for your transportation. At this point, we know for sure we will have buses leaving from Memphis and Knoxville, and there will probably be caravans forming in other cities.
Schedule for Lobby Day
The Memphis bus will leave at 5:30 a.m. Central time and the Knoxville bus will leave at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time.
9:00 - 10:30 Training for lobbying teams
10:30 - noon Visits to legislators in teams
Noon - 1:00 Rally on the capitol steps
1:00 - 3:00 Visits to legislators and/or lunch break
3:00 Return to home cities