Action Needed on Teacher Collective Bargaining Issue

Chattanooga Tea Party Friends: Please read the following exerpt from Eric Stamper’s e-mail and contact your legislative leaders to let them know how you feel:

From: Eric Stamper

Subject: HB130 – We need to focus our efforts and act immediately

Sunday, March 6, 2011, 7:00 PM

Dear Liberty Leaders,

This email needs your immediate attention and action! I will update you on some recent events and then suggest an immediate course of action.

From information gathered at the Union Rally this Saturday we know that our emails are being forwarded on up on the Union chain, so just assume that anything you email out is being read by the TEA, NEA, ACLU, Teamsters, IBEW, and the rest of the alphabet soup of socialist union types.

The rally went well on Saturday. We had a few hundred patriots from across the state show up, which looked really good especially when looking down on the crowd from the top of the steps, but we definitely needed more. The strength of the Tea Party is its numbers. We don’t have money. We don’t have lobbyists. We aren’t fighting to make ourselves richer. What we have is the strength of many citizens who can vote. Bottom line – the Tea Party is about numbers and each one of us needs to commit to ourselves and to our children to answer every call to action we can.

The union side had about 3,000 to 5,000. They had dozens of buses and an expensive set-up. They were clearly well funded and well organized. There were members and representatives there from the Teamsters, NEA, ACLU, IBEW, United Steelworkers, and probably several other leftist organizations. This fight is NOT about teachers – it is clearly about the socialist agenda of the left and how they will continue to fund it. The teachers are just the shield that these leftists are using right now to demagogue anybody who stands for individual liberty and responsibility over greedy union collectivism.

The leftists know this collective bargaining is the heart of their ability to raise money, recruit members and strong arm politicians. HB130 strikes at the these special priveleges granted to them over all other organizations by the law.

The unions are highly funded and organized and and are fighting for their own personal power, so they are going to make far more legislator contacts than us by email, phone, fax and in person. What we as liberty groups need to do is focus virtually all of our energy on the handful of legislators that will be the deciding votes.

HB130 is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, March 9th at the 3:30pm meeting of the House Education Subcommittee. This is the most dangerous committee and a vote could come as soon as this Wednesday, March 9th. It is currently the last item on the agenda, though that is subject to change. It may or may not be voted on this week depending on time and other factors. Every time this bill is on a calendar the unions are going to pack the room. It would be nice if we could have at least a few people there supporting the bill each step of the way, but since we come from all over the state on our own money and most of us have jobs this will usually not be possible. Again, we will need to focus our efforts on the handful of legislators that will be the deciding votes. If we focus our efforts there it is possible we may be able to match the level of contacts of the union with these particular legislators.

The House Education Subcommittee is composed of 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats. All 5 Democrats will vote against HB130 and will use every procedural trick they can to slow down or alter the legislation. All it would take for us to lose would be 2 Republicans to vote with the Democrats. There are 3 Republicans we are very concerned about: Harry Brooks of Knoxville, Ron Lollar of Shelby County, and Richard Montgomery of Sevierville.

At least for the next 3 days of this week we need every single Tea Party patriot contacting these three legislators. Residents of these districts will have the most impact, but every single contact is important – the unions will be contacting them constantly. We should phone, fax, email, and schedule in-person meetings. The best contact is a personal contact. Residents of these districts should schedule in-person meetings with these legislators and discuss their support of HB130. Try to form a small group and try to meet with them before the committee meeting at 3:30 on Wednesday.

The action you need to take is to alert your entire membership to the importance of HB130, how it relates to the liberty movement, and that they need to contact these Representatives immediately!

The unions are being fairly ugly with legislators, and of course the unions are asking for their own greedy demands. This is where we have an advantage. These legislators are likely to respond very well to our words of positive encouragement.

If your members only have time to send one message then it should be something like:

“We support your tough vote to pass HB130 to end collective bargaining and make Tennessee a true right to work state.”

“We support your courageous stance to pass HB130 and end collective bargaining.”

“We will have great respect for your willingness to stand up to the union and pass HB130.”

Rep. Ron Lollar: There has been a great deal of discussion about whether Rep. Lollar is for or against HB130. The final result is… we aren’t sure, but recent indications are he supports the bill. We need to keep contacting him. He has received a lot of negative attention previously to which he has had a very negative reaction. I recommend we shower him with kindness with messages like those above. He is saying now he supports the bill, so let’s thank him for that! Tell him you understand the difficult situation he is in but know he will do the right thing and support HB130.

Rep. Richard Montgomery: His preferences on HB130 remain unknown to us.

Rep. Harry Brooks: Rep. Brooks is the most likely to vote against HB130. His wife is a teacher, which presents a conflict of interest. We don’t know if she is a union member or not, but if so then it is an even bigger conflict of interest. Because we believe he is in favor of collective bargaining, the message we want to get through to him is this: No matter what your stance on collective bargaining, this issue is too big and too important to Tennessee to be killed in a subcommittee. This bill needs to be discussed and considered by the entire House. It would be wrong to have this bill shut down in the subcommittee. Please vote to let it out of subcommittee.

Another action you should consider as a leader is seeking out School Board members who agree with us and have them contact these legislators. That is very powerful. HB130 has the support of the Tennessee School Board Association, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and numerous school board members and county commissioners around the state. A lobbyist has been hired by some of these folks to lobby in behalf of HB130, but the TEA has numerous lobbyists and has dozens of people in the legislature every single day. HB130 desperately needs our help.

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