GOP-led Tennessee ballot proposal to test labor interest

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican-led Tennessee will officially take its voters’ temperature on an organized labor issue in November, as unions sprout in Starbucks storefronts and elsewhere nationally.

Lawmakers there have offered a ballot amendment asking voters whether Tennessee’s existing ban on workplaces with union shops requiring covered employees to pay dues should be added to the state constitution.

Tennessee has had a so-called right-to-work law since 1947. Putting it in the state constitution would make it more difficult to repeal later.

The amendment will offer a rare snapshot this November of voter sentiment on a flashpoint in the debate between union and business interests.

Democratic-led Illinois is asking voters whether to etch collective bargaining rights into the state constitution.

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