Wamp criticized for union legislation

Wamp criticized for union legislation

October 10th, 2009 by Matt Wilson in News

PDF: Zach Wamp NRTW letter



* U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp

* Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam

* Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

* Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons


* Former state Rep. Kim McMillan

* Nashville businessman Ward Cammack

* Mike McWherter

* State Sen. Roy Herron

* State Sen. Jim Kyle

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., has taken some heat over his support of legislation that provides collective bargaining rights to police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, sent Rep. Wamp a letter in late September, asking him to remove his name as a co-sponsor for the U.S. House resolution.

"If (the legislation) becomes law, Tennessee legislators would be forced to write state laws giving broad new powers to public safety union bosses over public safety employees in order to comply with the demands of the federal government," Mr. Mix wrote.

Rep. Wamp, one of 163 of the resolution's co-sponsors, said he understands the concerns raised in the letter, but the legislation does nothing to revoke Tennessee's status as a right-to-work state. He said the resolution, which does not allow for strikes or work slowdowns, was originally written by U.S. Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn.

"He calls it the bare-bones minimum of rights," Rep. Wamp said. "This gives them the ability to share their grievances or express themselves."

Jeff Eldridge, president of the Chattanooga Firefighters association, said he is glad Rep. Wamp is supporting the resolution. His union's main goal is to be able to sit down and negotiate for things they need, he said.

Along with Reps. Wamp and Duncan, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn.; U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., are signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.

Rep. Wamp is running for Tennessee governor in next year's gubernatorial election.