ALEC is coming to Nashville to take your rights away: Who are they and what can you do about it?

By Gordon Lafer

Most people assume that Tennessee’s laws come from Tennessee lawmakers.  Unfortunately, many of the laws controlling our jobs and economy don’t come from anyone we elected: they come from corporate lobbyists connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is a collection of several hundred of the largest corporations in the country, with recent members including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Kraft Foods, Wal-Mart, UPS, drug companies, Verizon, GM, Amazon, Facebook, Blue Cross, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Almost one-quarter of all state legislators in the country are members of ALEC, including 25 members of the Tennessee legislature.  Their dues are just $50 per year, with all the rest of the expenses paid by these corporations.  ALEC meets several times a year, where model laws are drafted in committees made up half of state legislators and half of corporate lobbyists.  These bills are then introduced in cookie-cutter fashion in state legislatures across the country.  The same companies that write the laws then contribute to politicians’ campaigns, run their own political ads on radio, tv and social media, and fund state-level “experts” to promote their laws.  ALEC estimates that 200 of its laws are passed every year.

ALEC works to make its corporate members richer.  Coke and Pepsi are members, and ALEC lobbies against restrictions on sugary soft drinks.  Drug companies are members, and ALEC works to prohibit importing cheaper drugs from Canada.  Payday loan companies are members, and ALEC wants to make sure there’s no limit to interest rates on such loans. 

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CLC Statement on DACA



Statement by the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee

Today we heard from our country’s President on the future of DACA- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program-- and, today, we are renewing our resolve that attacks on immigrants’ rights are attacks on workers’ rights.

Almost one million young workers will have their lives turned upside down by this decision. With the President’s decision to end DACA, almost one million young workers will have their right to work legally in this country taken away.

Almost one million young workers.

Here in Middle Tennessee, we work and live alongside several of DACA recipients-- the so-called Dreamers. They are our teachers. They are our nurses. They are our bank tellers. They are our servers. They are our web designers. They are our professors. They are our retail clerks. They are our entrepreneurs. They are our our friends. And they are our union members. DACA allows them to contribute fully to our economy, our community, and our unions.

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Fifth Annual Labor Day Parade & Celebration

On Saturday, September 2, we will celebrate our holiday--Labor Day!--with a Parade and cook out. Please come celebrate with us! 



Let's make Labor visible this Labor Day by celebrating the contributions of working families to our cities and state and continue to uplift workers right to organize.

PARADE DETAILS: Lineup for the Parade will begin at 8:30 am in Parking Lot R of Titans Stadium. Parade will kick off at 9 am. We will march from the stadium, into downtown, and back to the stadium. Please register your contingent here:

CELEBRATION DETAILS: Food, fun, and games for the whole family from 11 am - 3 pm. Sponsoring organizations will receive wristbands for food. Additional wrist bands will be available the day of the celebration for purchase for $5 per person or $20 per family.

PARKING: Free parking in Lot R. 

For questions or to request ADA accommodation please call 865-206-6086 or email

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"Secrets of a Successful Organizer" Training Draws 40 Union and Community Leaders



On July 16, 40 Middle Tennessee union and community members and leaders came together for a one day "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" training. We learned how to beat apathy, build our dream team, and how to turn an issue into a campaign. This training was organized by Labor Notes, a labor publication, research, and education organization based in Detroit, the Central Labor Council, and SOCM, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment. 

"This training was awesome!" said Marla Mabone, member of ATU Local 1235, one of six CLC affiliates who sent members to the training. "We learned how to organize a campaign to fix any problems we might be facing."  

Labor Notes also put on the "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" training in Memphis and Knoxville and trained around 140 total Tennessee union and community members. 

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Metro Council District 33 Special Election Endorsements

After vetting candidates for the special election to fill Sam Coleman's District 33 Metro Council seat, the Central Labor Council is pleased to announce a favorable recommendation for two candidates: Antoinette Lee and Jack Byrd III. The election will be Aug. 15, with early voting July 26-Aug. 10. 

Delegates from five Locals interviewed three of the six candidates running for the Antioch-area seat and were pleased that two had strong ties to labor. Antoinette Lee has been a Tennessee Education Association lobbyist and staff woman, and Jack Byrd III is a former SEIU Local 205 member and steward. Both candidates polled strongly on issues important to our affiliates and were vocal about their commitment to let Labor guide their position on issues that come across their desk. We feel confident that either of these candidates would be strong allies and advocates for working families in Nashville. 

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