Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living Wage Repeal Passes Senate

It is hard to believe, but the Tennessee Senate voted 18-13 on Friday to pass SB 83, which repeals the living wage ordinances we have passed in Memphis and Shelby County, repeal the Memphis prevailing wage ordinance, and ban cities and counties across the state from raising workers' wages above the minimum wage.

House Bill/Senate Bill 83 forbids local governments from setting wages higher than the minimum wage. That means it will overturn the living wage ordinances we worked so hard to get passed in the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission, and it will keep other communities across the state from passing living wage ordinances. It will also overturn the prevailing wage ordinance passed by the City Council. This will mean lower wages for thousands of workers in a time when so many families are already in crisis. It is also a disturbing interference into local government affairs by our state legislature.

This type of legislation has been introduced for many years in the state legislature, but this is the first time since 2003 that it has passed out of committee. Our current legislature is more hostile to workers than it has been in past years, so your action is urgently needed to stop this bill.

Workers Interfaith Network, 3035 Directors Row, B - 1207, Memphis, TN 38131. (901) 332-3570. http://www.workersinterfaithnetwork.org/

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