NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Workers from across the state are speaking out against legislation that would prevent Tennessee cities and counties from establishing a living wage.
About 100 workers gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to protest the measure that would ban higher wage requirements set by local governments and repeal any standard that has already been set, which in this case would be in Memphis.
"Right now they get a living wage, if
this bill passes, they can see their wages go down by at least 40 percent down
to minimum wage and they won't be able to meet their basic needs or take care
of their families," said Rebekah Gienapp Founder
and Executive Director of Workers Interfaith Network.
Republican Representative Glen Casada of Franklin, the bill's sponsor, said it's necessary to have "uniform ... business practices" between cities and counties.
"There is a conventional thought that
paying a living wage is good, and paying people irrespective of their worth is
a good thing, and it's time to educate the legislators and the public that
living wage is a bad deal, mandatory things on businesses is a bad thing, it
hurts job creation and it hurts the economy," said Casada
Tom Anderson is president of the United Campus Workers. He said the proposal is a bad idea because the "living wage is the bare minimum that a person needs to pay their bills."
The legislation was to be heard in the State and Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday, but was delayed for a week.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)