On April 6th, the House Commerce sub-committee in the Tennessee General Assembly will vote on a bill that repeals living wage laws already passed by local governments in our state. These living wage laws ensure that local governments contract only with responsible companies who pay their workers enough to meet their basic needs. The proposed state bill represents a major interference in local affairs.
These living wage laws were passed after careful consideration by our local elected officials. They ensure that the city and county contract only with responsible businesses who do not leave their workers in poverty. The Memphis City Council's living wage ordinance has been so successful that the Council expanded it in 2008 to cover the contractors of our public utility. As these living wage laws were considered, no contractors came foward to complain that these laws were burdensome or unfair.
If passed, HB 598/SB 630 could cut some workers pay by as more than 40 percent, and workers will be plunged back into poverty. I urge you to stand up for the hard-working people of Tennessee, instead of trying to cut their pay.