Press Release from Occupy Nashville, Dec. 13, 2013:
Occupy Nashville: Bill to Forbid Living Wage Bad for Tennessee’s Workers;
Occupy Nashville to Stand with Steelworkers in Solidarity Protests this Week
Occupy Nashville stands firmly against any legislation that would impair cities’ ability to decide for themselves whether workers can be paid a “living wage”—wages above the federal and state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove, said on Monday that he would favor legislation that would prevent cities like Nashville from protecting workers’ wages. Nashville has yet to enact an ordinance that sets the minimum amount a worker can be paid higher than the federal minimum, but Memphis currently requires its contractors to give employees a living wage between $10 and $12 per hour. His proposal, if enacted, would nullify Memphis’ ordinance and prevent other cities from taking similar actions to improve wages for working-class people.
Occupy Nashville advocates for the 99% of workers who are being extorted by bloated corporations to deflate workers’ wages while raking in enormous profits for corporate shareholders and CEOs. Occupy Nashville and the Occupy Wall Street movement have stated from their beginnings that they are fundamentally opposed to corporations’ marriage to government, and we decry corporate influence over legislators.
While disappointed, we are not shocked by Casada’s out-of-touch comments. In an interview with The Knoxville News-Sentinel this April, Casada blatantly exclaimed, “More money is more free speech,” demonstrating his belief that money and speech are identical.
We could not disagree more. Occupy Nashville maintains that money is not speech and that our politicians should be responsible to the people, not just the people with the most money.
Once again, politicians like Casada, who have been bought wholesale by corporate interests, are putting profits before people.
Casada said in an interview with WSMV-TV that cities’ choice to increase the minimum wage paid to employers will “drive up costs and … kill jobs.”
What really drives up costs is corporations taking bailout money and awarding themselves gigantic bonuses in return.
Casada was a major proponent last year of a law prohibiting cities from including gender identity and sexual orientation in anti-discrimination ordinances. That law nullified a groundbreaking Nashville ordinance requiring employers to refrain from discriminating against LGBT persons.
Occupy Nashville believes that cities are in a position to make decisions like these for themselves, and much like Gov. Bill Haslam’s heavy-handed treatment of our peaceful protesters on Legislative Plaza this October, Casada’s actions demonstrate that the leaders of our state—who ran for office on “small government”—are all too eager to interfere with local autonomy.
Occupy Nashville to Support Steelworkers against Cooper Tire
After a lengthy dispute over the contract governing the long-term obligations of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to its employees, the company locked out more than 1,000 hourly workers at the company’s plant in Findlay, Ohio, over Thanksgiving weekend.
In response to Cooper Tire’s greed, Occupy Nashville protesters will join in solidarity with United Steelworkers Local 1055, which represents tire and rubber workers in Middle Tennessee, in peaceful demonstrations at Cooper Tire locations in Nashville this week.
Steelworkers and Occupy Nashville protesters will distribute literature at Best One Tire, 1705 West End, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday. On Thursday, protesters will take action at Best One’s location at 421 Harding Place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.