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TNGOP: Union Push for Ball More Proof He’s On Board with the ‘Obama Agenda’

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; September 19, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—An extensive ground game and targeting Senator Lamar Alexander. That’s the roadmap for unions in the upcoming November election.

Last night, on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” two union bosses highlighted their plans to push Democrats to the polls in the fall.

Leo Gerard, of the steelworkers union, and Larry Cohen, of the communications union, made the comments in response to the host’s question about what unions plan to do. In particular, Cohen discussed making Senator Alexander — who would be chairman of the Senate labor committee in a new Republican Senate majority — the “poster-child” against their efforts because of his strong anti-union stances in the U.S. Senate and defense of Tennessee’s right-to-work laws.

The TNGOP captured the conversation here.

With the news today of his “F-rating” on the 2nd Amendment from the National Rifle Association, Tennessee Democrats’ nominee for the Senate, liberal personal injury lawyer Gordon Ball, is going to need the help from unions in his attempt to defeat Senator Alexander. The AFL-CIO has already endorsed Ball, and now it’s clear union bosses plan to make Lamar Alexander a target this fall.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney stated, “Liberals are already starting to circle the wagons—in Tennessee and beyond. They know Senator Alexander is going to be a leader in the new Republican Senate majority and they’re desperate to get their base engaged. Unfortunately for Gordon Ball, this information just proves once more he’d be a vote for the Obama agenda in Washington.”

Background

Upcoming UAW Vote at VW Concerns TN Senate Labor, Commerce Cmte Heads

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; February 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn, (February 10, 2014) — The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Tennessee’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee today expressed concern regarding the United Auto Workers (UAW) upcoming vote in Chattanooga, saying a vote for organized labor would harm Tennessee’s reputation as a business-friendly state and reverse the state’s recent progress in automobile-related job growth.

Chairman Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Vice-Chairman Mark Green (R-Clarksville) said the General Assembly has worked in concert with Governors Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam for the past several years to move forward policies to support Tennessee’s competitive standing in growing and expanding new and better paying jobs in the state. The lawmakers said that pending decisions of VW employees are of statewide interest at a pivotal time when Tennessee stands currently as a national leader in job creation.

“We greatly value our auto workers, both in Middle Tennessee and in Southeast Tennessee,” said Senator Johnson, a businessman whose legislative district is home to the General Motors Spring Hill plant and Nissan’s North America headquarters.

“Our communities are very similar with great neighborhoods, schools that focus on achievement and a local economy that is envied by many. The automotive industry is a very important part of the quality of life we enjoy.” “As Chattanooga workers vote on the United Auto Workers presence, it is a decision that transcends just one community,” he added. “There is tremendous competition for job growth among states. A vote for organized labor would impede our daily efforts to benefit Tennessee families as we compete nationally in job growth. I ask that Chattanooga lead to honor Tennessee’s competitive spirit so we can continue moving our state’s job growth forward. Chattanooga workers, we don’t need the UAW in our state.”

“In business, reputation means a lot,” added Senator Green, who is a practicing physician and businessman who represents the more rural Clarksville region that competes with industry across the state-line of Kentucky. “Tennessee has developed a reputation of a top location for families and businesses because of the lower cost of living, commitment to an educated workforce and folks keeping more of our wages by holding taxes low.”

“Volkswagen chose our state and your community for important reasons: Chattanooga workers have a great reputation of a great work ethic and make an excellent product. That reputation has been yours without the United Auto Workers,” he continued. “The free market that VW chose in our state produces competition, empowers employees far more than a labor union, and keeps bringing jobs to Tennessee.” The United Auto Workers vote is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 through Friday, February 14 at the Volkswagen site in Chattanooga.

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).

State Hands Out $160K in Job-Training Grants

Press Release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam, March 29, 2012

Governor Awards More Than $150K In Job Training Grants; Nine Companies Awarded Grants Training 298 Employees

NASHVILLE– Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis have awarded $159,215 in job training grants to nine companies across the state. Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills and avoiding layoffs for their employees.

“If Tennessee is going to become the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, then we must offer a well-trained workforce to employers,” said Governor Haslam. “This kind of training grant not only helps educate workers, but also provides incentive to employers looking to relocate or expand in Tennessee.”

“Both job creation and retention are vital in maintaining a healthy economy in Tennessee, and the Incumbent Worker Training program has played a key role in accomplishing this,” said Commissioner Davis. “Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 600 businesses by providing $14 million to train approximately 50,000 employees.”

The Incumbent Worker program has been structured to be flexible to meet the business’s training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training. The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.

The Incumbent Worker Training Program is funded by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and administered by the Workforce Development division within the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA contact), and the local career center.

Follow the link below for a list of companies receiving Incumbent Worker Training Grants
http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/news/March2012JobTrainingAwards.html.

TNGOP Alleges Conflicts of Interest for Rep. Moore

Press Release from the Republican Party of Tennessee, Aug. 29, 2011:

Democrat State Representative Gary Moore was recently elected as President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO and it is causing quite the stir. Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney has pointed out that Rep. Moore’s new position as President of one of the nation’s largest special interest lobbying groups places their chief lobbyist on the floor of the state legislature.

While Rep. Moore has stated he will not register as a lobbyist with the state, it is important to point out that his predecessor was a registered lobbyist with the state. Moore claims that he will be able to separate his duties as a legislator from the statewide union’s lobbying and political activities.

It seems that Rep. Moore is having a difficult time finding the line in the sand between his job as a state legislator and his new job as chief lobbyist for the Tennessee AFL-CIO. In recent interviews the contradictions of Gary Moore are starting to pile-up:

  • Gary Moore says that it “would be inappropriate” for someone serving as a legislator to be a lobbyist. However, Gary Moore seems a bit confused on what lobbying is because he turned around and said “the primary thing I want to do is educate the legislators.” Educating legislators about issues concerning your organization is exactly what lobbyists do.
  • In another interview Gary Moore said he will separate himself from the AFL-CIO’s political activities. However, in a different interview he stated, “One thing you’re going to see is us [AFL-CIO] reaching out to all elected officials and trying to educate them on our concerns and what our issues are.”

Tennessee State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney commented on Rep. Moore’s contradictions by saying, “If Gary Moore can’t distinguish between what is and what is not lobbying when being questioned about the obvious conflict of interest, how can we expect him to do it in the halls of the legislature when no one is watching?”

Ramsey Proposes Public Hearings On Teacher Contracts

The latest compromise in the debate over how Tennessee teachers hammer out labor contracts would require that educators be given a chance to offer public input but would no longer enjoy collective bargaining leverage, according to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

Senate Republican staffers are still working out the details and likely will reveal them next week, but Ramsey said Thursday he expects the fresh language from his chamber will help win over House Republicans who won’t commit to an elimination of teachers’ unions’ collective bargaining power.

“I think that will give the teachers the protection they need and desire, yet don’t have the unions in the middle doing those negotiations,” he said.

The new provisions, which Ramsey said are conceptual right now, would create a “policy manual” for school boards to follow before hashing out teacher labor contracts. It would require public hearings for rank-and-file teachers to air their concerns to the school’s top decision makers.

The school boards would have no obligation to follow the teachers’ recommendations. But Ramsey said the public meetings would keep school board members more accountable to the public.

That sounds like a “glorified faculty meeting,” said Al Mance, executive director of the Tennessee Education Association.

“I can’t imagine any set of conditions under which this gives teachers a voice. Every school system already has the opportunity, and in fact, the right to have whatever meetings they want to have with their faculties,” he said.

The TEA, which represents some 52,000 teachers, said using the public meetings as the main method to work out teachers’ issues of concern would be “unworkable” and “create chaos” whereas using select union representatives to hash out those issues would be more collaborative.

“I hope the lieutenant governor will go back and think about that again,” Mance said.

The amendment would be the second compromise in an ongoing quest by Tennessee Republicans to curb the authority of the Tennessee Education Association and other teachers’ unions to negotiate contracts.

So far, the GOP caucus is split over two competing proposals. The Senate version of SB113, that Ramsey favors, would ban unions from negotiating on behalf of teachers. The House version maintains collective bargaining but shrinks the list of issues that can be discussed at the negotiation table.

The issue is reminiscent of similar discussions in Wisconsin and Iowa aimed at diminishing union power. Proponents say the changes are necessary to save money and dig the states out of budget holes.

In Tennessee, the argument is a philosophical one over whether unions are good for education.

The issue came to a head Wednesday in the House Education Subcommittee. Republican Chairman Mike Harrison stepped away from his party’s platform on collective bargaining and proposed amendments to give teachers more issues and more negotiators to take with them to the bargaining table.

Both attempts failed, and he abstained from voting the bill out of committee.

“If I had voted against it, the bill would have essentially died, but there’s always other bills that someone could amend and bring the collective bargaining back, and I feel like it would probably be even worse if that had happened,” Harrison said.

The Rogersville Republican is unhappy with both the House and the Senate versions of the bill, but said he could go along with the House’s softer reforms if he can add his amendments.

To Harrison, the issue is less about union power than it is about representing teachers in his district.

“Unions in other states (versus) what we have here are apples and oranges. If you don’t have the ability to go on a strike, and if teachers either have the ability to be a member or not a member, I think it’s probably OK,” he said, referring to Tennessee’s right-to-work framework.

Because he was the tie-breaking vote on the committee, the measure should have died, potentially ending for the year’s discussions about teachers’ collective bargaining privileges. Instead, Speaker Beth Harwell stepped in and cast the deciding vote, passing it out of the committee, 7-6.

Harwell, who took pride earlier this year in dismantling the House Education committee to break up the body’s heavy Memphis majorities, said she was not disappointed her hand-picked subcommittee couldn’t pull the trigger on the bill she helped craft without her direct involvement.

“If I’m needed to be called in to keep a good bill moving forward, I’m honored to do that,” Harwell told reporters Thursday. “I think every day we get closer to garnering the votes we need for passage. Every day we’re making progress.”

Tennessee Tea Party secretary Tami Kilmarx said she’s confused about what exactly is going on among House Republicans, and to what extent the bulk of their 64-member caucus will support the Senate’s more sweeping collective bargaining rollback.

“Senators, like us, feel like we want to cut the head off the snake and do away with collective bargaining across the board,” she said.

Ramsey was scheduled to meet with Kilmarx’s tea party group in Murfreesboro Thursday evening to discuss the latest movement on collective bargaining.

July Unemployment Rate Slips to Single Digit, Still Higher Than U.S. Average

State of Tennessee Press Release; Aug. 26, 2010:

Rates Decrease in 87 Counties, Increase in 5, Remain Same in 3

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 9.8 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised June rate of 10.0 percent. The national unemployment rate for July 2010 was 9.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for July 2010, released today, show that the rate decreased in 87 counties, increased in five counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, down from 6.7 percent in June. Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 19.4 percent, down from 20.8 percent, followed by Marshall County at 15.7 percent, down from 16.6 percent in the previous month.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.5 percent, down from 7.8 percent in June. Davidson County was 9.3 percent, up from 9.0 percent. Hamilton County was 8.4 percent, down from 9.1 in June, and Shelby County was 9.9 percent, down from 10.5.

NOTE: Information will be available on the Internet; enter http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/july2010county.pdf

Haslam Wants To Pair Up Students, Businesses

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, March 24, 2010:

Will Work With Businesses, Postsecondary Institutions to Train Workers, Meet Workforce Needs

CHATTANOOGA – Speaking with business leaders, higher education officials, and economic development professionals during a key stop on his statewide Jobs Tour, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced today a plan to help foster workforce development partnerships between Tennessee businesses and postsecondary institutions.

As governor, Mayor Haslam will work to create seamless transitions between postsecondary education and training and the workforce. Earlier this month, Mayor Haslam announced a plan to install regional jobs base camps across the state that will help align and coordinate local economic development efforts and produce powerful strategies to leverage each region’s unique assets.

As a part of the Mayor’s plan to improve workforce development efforts, the directors of these 10-13 base camps will work closely with businesses and postsecondary institutions to create partnerships that help businesses meet workforce demands and help university, community college, and technical center graduates obtain good jobs.

“We should constantly be looking for new ways to partner and create mutually beneficial relationships that ultimately lead to employed Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “Nearly 11 percent of Tennessee workers are currently unemployed, and at the same time, I’ve heard from business owners throughout this Jobs Tour who have told me there’s a shortage of available workers who possess the skills they need,” Haslam continued. “I believe there’s a clear opportunity to do more to help Tennesseans obtain good jobs.

“Throughout the state, there are examples of these types of partnerships,” said Haslam. “Right here in Chattanooga, TVA has had a long-standing relationship with Chattanooga State, which in the past couple years has been taken to a whole new level.”

At this morning’s meeting in Chattanooga, Mayor Haslam emphasized the special nature of the partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority and Chattanooga State Community College that led to the creation of an entirely new degree program designed to help TVA meet its rising demand for radiation protection technicians. Chattanooga State has a Memorandum of Understanding with TVA that TVA will consider graduates for jobs, and with the first class graduating with associate degrees of applied science in radiation protection technology this May, some students should be landing high quality jobs with TVA in the near future.

“If we look at Clarksville, there’s another great example of this special type of partnership. The state helped foster a relationship between Austin Peay State University and Hemlock, who is going to be a major employer for that region,” Haslam added.

“There are opportunities all across the state to align the needs of businesses, postsecondary institutions, and workers,” Haslam continued. “As governor, I’m going to focus on developing these relationships as a part of my overall effort to create and retain high quality jobs in Tennessee.”

Mayor Haslam is spending Week Three of his three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in East Tennessee, and today is being spent in Bradley, Hamilton, and McMinn counties conducting small business roundtables and meeting with economic development professionals and local business and education leaders. The remainder of the schedule for the East Tennessee swing of the Jobs Tour can be found below.

Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Bill is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.

Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.

To follow Mayor Haslam on his Jobs Tour and submit ideas for how to grow our state’s economy, please visit www.Jobs4TN.com. For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit www.BillHaslam.com.