July 24, 2017
CONTACT: Ryan Williams


 The GOP’s Labor Project

How Congress Can Protect Worker Rights From Union Coercion

July 21, 2017
The Wall Street Journal

With health care consuming most of Congress’s bandwidth, Republicans may need to multi-task to achieve other legislative successes this session. Perhaps they could start with reforms to U.S. labor law.

The 1935 National Labor Relations Act hasn’t undergone substantive revisions in 70 years, while the U.S. Constitution has been amended six times. Congress has traditionally deferred to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to interpret labor law, but Barack Obama’s appointees demonstrated the need to safeguard worker rights in statute as they rigged the rules to favor unions.

House Republicans have now introduced an Employee Rights Act partly modeled on state reforms. In the last Congress 137 House Members and 33 Senators co-sponsored similar legislation, which never moved because Mr. Obama had the veto pen. Now they have an ally in the White House.

The House bill would require unions to obtain permission from workers to spend their dues on purposes other than collective bargaining. Current labor law lets unions deduct money from worker paychecks to fund political activities. Workers then must go through the tortuous process of requesting a refund for the share not spent on collective bargaining, which unions may broadly define to include member engagement that boosts voter turnout. No other political outfit enjoys this fundraising fillip.

Democrats oppose an opt-in requirement because they know many workers won’t voluntarily endorse a portion of their paychecks to fund political spending with which they disagree. Exit polls last year showed that 43% of union households voted for Republicans while Democrats received 86% of labor financial support. An opt-in rule could improve political accountability within unions.

Another problem is that only 7% of currently unionized employees voted for their union, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and NLRB data. Many workforces have turned over completely since their unions were certified. Yet decertifying a union is an arduous process made more difficult by the Obama NLRB.

The House bill would mandate a recertification election upon the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement if a workforce has turned over by more than 50%. In 2011 Wisconsin passed legislation requiring annual recertification elections for public unions. Membership has since dropped by half as many workers have decided that the costs of belonging exceed the benefits.

Unions sometimes coerce workers into signing cards and then bully employers—for instance, by threatening a public assault on their brand—into recognizing the card checks in lieu of holding secret-ballot elections. The bill would protect workers and employers from union intimidation by taking card-check off the menu of options. It would also allow employees to withhold their personal contact information from unions.

Republicans might not be able to get the 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, but they could break up the legislation into bite-sized pieces that could be attached to spending bills. Most provisions poll well and can be easily explained to voters. Let’s see who in Congress will vote to protect workers from coercion.

To access the editorial, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit:

 To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.


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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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