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TN AFL-CIO Disappointed by General Assembly Failure to Pass ‘Insure TN’

Press release from AFL-CIO Tennessee Chapter President Gary Moore; February 5, 2015:

NASHVILLE, TN– Now that the dust from yesterday’s vote on Insure Tennessee is starting to settle, I wanted to take a moment to share my final thoughts on what could have been a positive change for over 250,000 Tennesseans.

Many of the numbers have been noted quite a bit, but I want to draw your attention to them one more time. As House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh posted outside of his office yesterday, our state has now lost $1 BILLION and hundreds of people have died as a result of our lawmakers’ inaction. If those figures aren’t a wake-up call to Tennesseans, I don’t know what will open their eyes to the seriousness of this problem.

Like many others, I am extremely disappointed in Senators Crowe, Bell, Bowling, Gardenhire, Kelsey, Niceley, and Roberts for their heartless decision.  However, I would like to commend Senators Massey, Briggs, Jackson, and Yarbro for making the right choice. In addition, I would also like to thank House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick and Senator Doug Overbey for sponsoring this resolution.

As many of our Democratic leaders have noted, we will continue to fight. Yesterday was a dark day in our state’s history, but we will never let uninsured Tennesseans become a distant memory. All of us deserve access to affordable, quality health care, and we will continue to remind our legislators of that until they recognize it, too.
Gary Moore is the president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council.

TN AFL-CIO President: Congress Should ‘Stop Playing Games,’ Remember Constituents Needs

Press release from the Tennessee Chapter of the AFL-CIO; January 21, 2015:

“Tonight, we turn the page.” That’s one of my favorite lines from President Obama’s State of the Union address, which he delivered Tuesday evening.

While this phrase symbolically sets the stage for a fresh start, we all know that there is much work to be done, especially when it comes to working families and the challenges that we face every day. Fortunately, the president made this topic a major part of his many remarks.

The bottom line for working families? Higher wages. President Obama acknowledged this by saying “That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned.”

Yet another one of my favorite phrases from this year’s State of the Union address.

The president also reminded us of another harsh reality: the United States is the only advanced country that does not offer paid sick or maternity leave. Even though he at least outlined a plan for paid leave, it’s disheartening to think that it has taken our nation so long to get to this point.

Now, it’s time for President Obama’s actions to speak louder than his words. It’s time for Congress to put aside partisan differences and do what’s best for each and every citizen. We call on lawmakers to stop playing games and start remembering the needs of their constituents who put them in office.

Only then will we truly be able to “turn the page” on some of the most troubling times in recent memory.

Ball: Attacks Show Alexander ‘Out of Touch’ with Tennesseans

Press release from the Gordon Ball Campaign for U.S. Senate; September 23, 2014:

It’s now clearer than ever. Senator Lamar Alexander is truly out-of-touch with the people of his own state.

The Tennessee GOP recently came out swinging at Gordon Ball, Senator Alexander’s opponent in the November election. The party alleges that Gordon will simply be another vote for “Obama’s agenda.”

However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Gordon is focused on his own extensive agenda, which includes protecting working families in our state,” said TN AFL-CIO President Gary Moore. “Senator Alexander and members of his party are beginning to become concerned as they realize that Gordon is a very viable and strong candidate for U.S. Senate.”

This comes just as Senator Alexander introduced the “National Labor Relations Board Reform Act” last week. The truth of the matter, however, is that his ultimate goal is to eventually do away with the NLRB.

“These changes are being introduced by the same person who wanted to do away with the minimum wage and is a strong advocate of Tennessee’s right-to-work laws,” said President Moore. “At the end of the day, Senator Alexander will never have the interests of middle class Tennesseans in mind.”

“Once again, Senator Lamar Alexander proves he is out of touch with working Tennesseans,” said Ball. “He is so busy focusing on attacking me that he has forgotten the people who put him in office the first place. Wall Street did not put him in office, Main Street did.”

As Election Day gets closer, more and more Tennesseans are ready for a much-needed change in Washington.

“As we’ve said before, Gordon has made it very clear that he will represent every citizen of this great state,” said President Moore. “We are committed to helping him ensure that the truths are told about his goals and agenda, rather than false assumptions or generalizations.”

State Union Chief Worries Employers Will Dump Workers’ Health Plans Under Obamacare

The head of Tennessee’s chapter of the nation’s largest union federation is concerned the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act will cause Tennessee employees to be “booted” to the federally run exchanges by employers looking to save a buck.

Gary Moore, a former Democratic state lawmaker who now serves as president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization’s Tennessee wing, worries that workers here, especially those employed by smaller companies in the construction business, may lose their employer-provided medical coverage.

Moore told TNReport recently he’s concerned that one of the ways employers in Tennessee might “react to the Affordable Care Act” is by altering “the way that they provide insurance coverage to their employees now.” Specifically, companies facing cost-cutting pressures might choose to drop the more expensive, union-backed health insurance plans and “dump” those employees onto the federal exchange, he said.

“Will every employer do it? Probably not. But, will some of them? I can almost guarantee that they will,” said Moore, who served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 2005 through 2012.

Moore’s concerns about union health plans echo those detailed in the resolution passed by the AFL-CIO at the organization’s quadrennial convention in September. The Tennessee state chapter of AFL-CIO represents more than 60,000 Tennesseans who’re members of 37 international unions and 273 local unions, according to the organization’s website.

The AFL-CIO resolution, which Moore voted to support during the organization’s meeting in Los Angeles, called for the Obama administration to take steps to ensure certain unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act are avoided. If that’s not possible under the law’s existing structure, then the AFL-CIO “will demand the ACA be amended by Congress,” according to the resolution, which passed on a voice vote.

“Contrary to the law’s intent, some workers might not be able to keep their coverage and their doctors because the federal agencies’ current implementation plans will be highly disruptive to the operation of Taft-Hartley multiemployer plans, substantially changing the coverage available for millions of covered employees and their families,” the resolution stated. “The federal agencies tasked with implementing the law have unnecessarily imposed an interpretation of the Affordable Care Act which imposes additional costs and fees for which plan participants receive no benefit, unnecessarily driving coverage costs higher.”

While the majority of AFL-CIO members supported the resolution calling for the federal government to address their issues with President Obama’s signature law, some members that were present at the convention wanted to see the health care reform package completely repealed and replaced.

Moore said he wasn’t in that camp.

Although Obamacare has its problems, he maintains it is a step in the right direction and needs time to take hold.

“Any law that you pass is subject to have flaws in it,” said Moore. “You don’t address the flaws by not funding it. You come back to the following legislative session and you attempt to correct the problems.”

TN AFL-CIO: Refusal to Raise Debt Ceiling Makes ‘Bad Situation Worse’

Statement from TN AFL-CIO President Gary Moore; October 15, 2013:

NASHVILLE, TN – If you’ve lost track of time, the ongoing (and unnecessary) government shutdown is now entering its third week. To add to the problem, the United States is also dangerously close to its October 17th default date. Unsurprisingly, some Republicans continue loudly voicing their opposition to raising the debt ceiling, even if that means the richest country in the world isn’t able to pay its bills for the first time.

Let’s have a quick history lesson, or at least a look back at the last 70 years.

According to information obtained from The Guardian, Democrats have raised the debt ceiling 40 times since 1944. During that same time frame, Republicans have raised it 54 times.

That same data also points out another interesting fact. The president who’s raised the debt ceiling the most in the last 70 years happens to be a Republican himself…Ronald Reagan. Lawmakers who are currently condemning any increase in the debt ceiling are essentially going against the actions of one of the most revered members of their political party.

The consequences that could potentially come along with not raising the debt ceiling would be unprecedented. It’s even difficult to say exactly what some of those might be. After all, this would be unfamiliar territory for our current leaders.

As I’ve said before, it’s time for Republicans to stop focusing solely on their own selfish interests. These men and women were elected to represent people, just like you and me.

Not raising the debt ceiling would just be making a bad situation worse. It’s time to STOP the shutdown. It’s time for Republicans to STOP making extreme demands.

For the sake of the many employees who’ve been told to sit at home for the past several weeks, it’s time to START putting them back to work.

TNGOP: Moore’s Union Ties, Obama Support Spelled Trouble in November

Press Release from the Tennessee Republican Party, April 5, 2012:

TNGOP Chairman’s Statement On Democrat Gary Moore’s Decision Not To Seek Re-Election

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement on Democrat State Representative Gary Moore’s decision not to seek re-election. Moore is now the eleventh Democrat legislator who has announced he will not be seeking re-election this year.

“We wish Gary Moore well. It is obvious that his big labor ties were going to be a drag on his candidacy. Moore’s stance on the issues epitomize why Democrats are having so much trouble connecting with Tennessee voters,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.

In August of last year, Moore was elected to serve as President of the Tennessee Chapter of the AFL-CIO Labor Council, a big union that has once again enthusiastically endorsed President Obama’s campaign. Soon after that announcement, TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney sent Moore a letter asking him to make a choice between serving the interests of his constituents or the interests of the AFL-CIO.

“While I never received a response from Representative Moore, today, Tennesseans are being made well aware of whom he would prefer to serve,” concluded Devaney.

Recent Democrat retirements include four state senators (Joe Haynes, Roy Herron, Eric Stewart and Andy Berke) and seven state representatives (Eddie Bass, Bill Harmon, Mike McDonald, Gary Moore, Jimmy Naifeh, Janis Sontany and Harry Tindell).

TNGOP Slams Dems Voting Against Income Tax Ban

Press Release from the Republican Party of Tennessee, Jan. 19, 2012:

Once Again, Tennessee Democrats Stand Up For A State Income Tax

NASHVILLE, TN – Today, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted in favor of a resolution to amend the Tennessee Constitution by adding language to ban a state income tax. SJR 221, sponsored by Representative Glen Casada, passed the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 73-17-3.

The amendment will now have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in the next session. The amendment will then be placed on the ballot, coinciding with a gubernatorial election, to allow Tennessee voters to approve.  “I applaud our Republican leadership for moving us one step closer to solidifying the unconstitutionality of a state income tax. However, several Tennessee Democrats once again showed their liberal mindset by reinforcing their belief that government should not be restricted from  dipping into your paycheck,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.

“While Tennesseans work hard to get through this economic recession, Tennessee Democrats are content with duplicating President Obama’s philosophy of raising taxes to meet reckless government spending, instead of reducing government to meet current revenue,” said Devaney.

Democrats Who Voted Against Banning a State Income Tax: Karen Camper, Barbara Cooper, Charles Curtiss, Lois Deberry, G.A. Hardaway, Bill Harmon, Mike Kernell, Larry Miller, Gary Moore, Jimmy Naifeh, Joe Pitts, Jeanne Richardson, Johnny Shaw, Mike Stewart, Harry Tindell, Joe Towns, and Johnnie Turner.

Dems Cruise Through Nissan Plant On Day 3 of Jobs Tour

Press Release from the Senate Democratic Caucus; Sept. 21, 2011:

Officials discuss technical jobs training and education

SMYRNA – House and Senate Democrats continued their statewide jobs tour Wednesday with stops in Columbia and Smyrna, as officials discussed technical jobs training and the expansion of one of Middle Tennessee’s largest employers.

“Today’s events were a great reminder that when different groups within the public and private sector come together, we can put people to work faster and more efficiently,” said State Representative Gary Moore.

The morning began with a roundtable at Columbia State Community College, where former State Rep. Ty Cobb updated everyone with the latest news on the reopening of the General Motors plant in Spring Hill. National labor and management officials with GM have reported they are close to a new contract that would create 600 new jobs next year at the former Saturn plant, and another 1,100 by 2013.

Public officials then met with Marvin Sandrell of Sandrell Heating and Air Conditioning and several members of the Columbia State faculty and staff to discuss how Tennessee educational institutions can best prepare students for the workforce – especially nontraditional students training for a new career.

The tour then traveled to Smyrna to visit the Nissan plant, where the all-electric LEAF is expected to go into mass production next year. Nissan executives and directors told the group that the plant’s expansion is a direct result of Tennessee’s economic incentives and infrastructure support.

“I watched the first Nissans roll off the assembly line in 1983, and since Day One our state government has had a great relationship with Nissan,” said Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh. “Our cooperation has benefited not only Middle Tennessee, but the entire state.”

Nissan officials also told the tour of the need for increased emphasis on science and technology education and a recommitment to trade schools that prepare Tennesseans for well-paying manufacturing careers.

The jobs tour continues tomorrow morning in McMinnville before heading to Chattanooga for the East Tennessee portion of the tour. For more information, call (615) 812-2157.

 

Amidst Indications of GM Plant Reopening, Dems Talk Jobs in Columbia

Democrats took their “Jobs Tour” to Maury County on Wednesday, but the big news was who didn’t show up.

Mike O’Rourke, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1853, and Mike Herron, chairman of the group, were scheduled to participate in the jobs tour stop but were called to Memphis to hammer out details of General Motors’ reported plans to jump-start production at the idled Spring Hill GM plant — a development that has brought bright hopes to the long-suffering community on the jobs front.

Former state Rep. Ty Cobb did the talking for O’Rourke and Herron for members of the media attending the roundtable discussion at Columbia State Community College. Cobb basically confirmed reports that two vehicles will be built at the plant, one beginning in 2012 and another in 2013, with the first bringing 600 jobs on a $60 million investment and the other 1,100 jobs on a $358 million investment.

“As we speak, UAW and GM leaders are talking in Memphis, with some confidential meetings,” Cobb said.

“You know, this is the most modern plant in the United States at the Spring Hill facility, so they can have a vehicle up and producing quicker than any other plant in the country. So that’s something that has really helped with getting a product back in this facility. They also have one of the best skilled workforces in the country.”

The company has already put $400 million into engine manufacturing at the site that began in 2009. The area is trying to recover from the layoffs of about 2,000 workers during the recent auto crisis and recession, a blow that has also hit suppliers.

“This is all good news,” Cobb said of this week’s developments. “The future is bright for GM and the people that work in this region.”

It was timely information for lawmakers interested in spurring job growth in the state.

“I think what the message here should be is this is what happens when labor and management work together,” said Rep. Gary Moore, D-Joelton, who recently became president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO.

The Democrats began their week-long tour in Memphis on Monday and are gradually moving across the state, collecting input from business leaders, educators and anyone else who has an interest in improving job growth.

The tour comes in the wake of a legislative session that saw Democrats offer several “jobs bills,” most dealing with tax credits, while Republicans primarily stuck to a limited legislative agenda on employment, asserting that jobs cannot simply be legislated into existence.

But House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson expressed their continued interest Wednesday in pursuing measures through the General Assembly aimed at helping Tennesseans find work.

“We’ve seen already that there are things we should propose again,” Fitzhugh said. “There may be some new ones.

“The key is that we have to do this not just as a Democratic task force as a result of a Democratic jobs tour but as a Legislature. We think the ideas will be ones that will be embraced by the majority party and be successful.”

Democrats know the political obstacles they face, with majority Republicans making the case that legislators can best create jobs by reducing regulations that impede business and smoothing the job environment with legislation like tort reform. Gov. Bill Haslam took a limited approach to job legislation this year, his first in office, although he has supported the spirit of the tour the Democrats are conducting.

Republicans hold a 64-34-1 majority in the House and a 20-13 majority in the Senate.

“We must have Republican support to pass any jobs bill we produce,” Finney said.

“The governor requested us to specifically talk to people who are putting their capital at risk. That’s what we’ve tried to do. Some of the things we proposed in the spring we anticipate bringing back this next year and hope to have bipartisan support for.”

But Finney noted the Democrats are hearing about some new challenges on the tour. They heard Wednesday about communication gaps that still exist between industry and schools, although state government has taken steps recently to smooth the journey through higher education for students with the Complete College Act. One of the issues is having enough classroom space to accommodate students seeking training.

Finney said the Democrats are hearing that mom-and-pop shops are hurting and could benefit from tax credits and ideas like a small business sales tax holiday.

“Traditionally, our Republican colleagues have always been for less taxes, and less taxes on businesses is what would help,” Finney said.

Finney said such legislation would focus on existing businesses in the state, as opposed to relocating businesses, which has also been a major theme of the Haslam administration as it seeks to increase jobs.

“A bill we had last year, which we’re going to continue to work on, is to require state contracts to go to state businesses located in Tennessee already,” Finney said.

“We heard from one yesterday (Tuesday) in Weakley County who for years had a contract with the state, and then an out-of-state corporation came in, won the contract at a higher bid, and that money and that tax money now goes out of state.”

Democrats heard some good news Wednesday apart from the GM developments. Marvin Sandrell, who runs a heating and cooling business in Columbia, as well as a business in Spring Hill, said he had had to hire about eight new people in the last year.

“Columbia is probably pretty fortunate to have more commercial work going than most places around. It just seems to be picking up some,” Sandrell said. He said grants are helping in hiring.

Legislators also heard that Pell grants are helping non-traditional students seeking training who may not qualify for Hope scholarships from the state lottery.

Devaney Sends Letter to Rep. Moore

Press Release from the State Republican Party, Sept. 1, 2011:

TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney Sends Letter to State Representative & TN AFL-CIO President Gary Moore

NASHVILLE, TN – Earlier today, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney sent a letter to State Representative and President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council Gary Moore, asking for clarification on a number of issues. Devaney has particularly requested that Moore address whether or not he can separate his labor organization’s interests from the interests of his district when voting in Nashville. The full letter is below.

State Representative Gary Moore

President-Tennessee AFL/CIO Labor Council

1901 Lindell Avenue

Nashville, TN 37203

Dear Representative/President Moore:

Congratulations on your recent appointment as President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council. I am sure you would agree that it is certainly an honor and one that you have earned given your support of big labor issues that have come before the Tennessee General Assembly over the years.

Since you will be making decisions as a legislator and also “educating” your colleagues, as you put it, on issues important to the largest labor union in the country, I thought it would be important to let me, as a citizen of this state, and your constituents know where you will stand on the issues as they come before you in the General Assembly. Surely you would never put the issues of AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka and his ally President Obama before the best of interests of your constituents in Metro Nashville.

For instance, the AFL-CIO wholeheartedly endorsed and lobbied for President Obama’s health care package. In Tennessee, your predecessor picketed across the state to urge for the passage of this controversial legislation. As a state legislator and now President of the Tennessee AFL- CIO, is this something that you would encourage? And do you agree with President Obama and the government takeover of health care? Even though former Governor Phil Bredesen has said that Obamacare could cost Tennessee over $3 billion to implement, do you agree that this was practical legislation and was in the best interest of our state and your district? As a legislator, and the head of a large labor union in the state, would you organize a protest?

The AFL-CIO’s proposal entitled The Labor Movement’s Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform calls for amnesty for illegal immigrants across the country and in Tennessee. According to the document, amnesty would “raise labor standards for all workers.” Is amnesty for illegal immigrants in Tennessee something you would encourage as President of the AFL-CIO and something you would encourage as a legislator? Further, as legislator, and as the president of a large labor union in the state, would you work to stymie common sense immigration reform measures that come before the Tennessee General Assembly?

Finally, your boss, Richard Trumka, President of the national AFL-CIO, was a strong advocate for President Obama’s failed stimulus measure. In fact, Mr. Trumka recently called on the federal government to “spend more” in a new stimulus bill. Most authorities on the issue agree that the stimulus bill was a waste of money and only increased our national debt – something that caused one credit rating agency to lower the United States’ Triple-A debt rating and threatened Tennessee’s as well. As a legislator, and president of a large labor union in the state, do you advocate bigger government and increased spending to “stimulate” the economy? In your dual roles, would you lobby or, as you put it, “educate” your colleagues to pass similar legislation in Tennessee and also encourage our federal elected officials to do the same? These are but a few issues; however, I think it is fair that the people of this state know where you stand. When you are on the State House floor, will you consider yourself a servant to the people of Tennessee or a servant to the labor bosses and big government advocates in Washington? I certainly do not question your principles, but I do question your judgment and your ability to separate your labor organization’s interests from the interests of your district when you are voting in Nashville. Is this something you can separate? I have my doubts, and the only way for you to truly and fairly do that, would be to choose between the two positions. Only you can make that decision.

Sincerely,

Chris Devaney

Chairman

Tennessee Republican Party