Labor leaders address needs from presidential candidates

    Middle Tennessee labor union leaders gathered Thursday to discuss what talking points they will be looking for from President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden at Thursday night's debate. (Photo: Holly McCall)
    Middle Tennessee labor union leaders gathered Thursday to discuss what talking points they will be looking for from President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden at Thursday night's debate. (Photo: Holly McCall)

    Nobody — teachers nor students — should set foot in classrooms until infrastructure has been fixed, class sizes are smaller and Metro Nashville hires more teachers, said Amanda Kail, president of the Metro Nashville Education Association Thursday morning. 

    Kail was part of a coalition speaking to the needs of Tennessee workers in advance of Thursday night’s presidential debate at Nashville’s Belmont University. 

    “I’ve lost track of how many phone calls I’ve gotten from teachers who are terrified to go back into the classroom,” said Kail. “The first thing I want to know (from President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden) is what are we going to do to keep the people in school safe? We have overcrowded classrooms, we have broken ventilation systems, we have not enough teachers.”

    “It’s unconscionable that we are demanding teachers go back without providing them the safety to keep themselves and their students and their families safe.”

    The press conference was organized by the Nashville Central Labor Council. In addition to Kail, speakers included CLC President Vonda McDaniel, Jason Davidson, president of Ironworkers Local Union 492, restaurant worker Brenda Raybrant, and Stanley Cunningham from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1235, which represents MTA bus drivers. 

    The CLC will be part of a group staging a demonstration to protest President Trump’s policies at 4:30 p.m. The group, which includes Be Better Belmont, a group calling on Belmont University to cut ties with administrators from private prison company CoreCivic, Indivisible Nashville and Our Revolution, will gather on the corner of Magnolia and Belmont Boulevards in Hillsboro Village. 

    Rallies to support both Trump and Biden are also expected to be held in the area near Belmont University campus.