NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An innocuous-looking bill moving through the legislature would have anti-union implications if passed.
SB0281 by Republican Senate Leader Jack Johnson of Franklin requires the TN Department of Education to “publish the annual state salary schedule” on the department website, but an amendment to the bill adds a requirement that would prohibit union dues from being deducted from teachers’ salaries.
Additionally, the bill outlines Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed $50,000 starting salary for public school teachers, which was a priority in his State of the State address earlier this year. The governor’s initiative would increase starting salaries to $42,000 for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year; it would then raise to $44,500 for the following school year; $47,000 for the 2025-2026 school year and finally $50,000 in 2026.
But the amendment also explicitly prohibits any LEA from deducting dues from an employee’s payroll for any “professional employees’ organization,” or union. Instead, it would be up to the individual employee to pay those voluntarily.
“This section does not prohibit an employee of an LEA from personally and voluntarily remitting dues to a professional employees’ organization,” the bill says in closing.
News 2 has reached out to both sponsors and the Tennessee Education Association for comment on the bill. As of publication, we have not heard back.
The measure has moved easily through both Senate and House committees, passing on party line votes in both chambers so far. The bill will next be heard by the House Education Administration Committee on Wednesday, March 15, and the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.
What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More
You can also find daily coverage from the session here.