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May 5, 2019
CONTACT: Ryan Williams



F. Vincent Vernuccio and Morgan Shields
May 4, 2019
The Hill

Democrats in Congress are again pushing a wish list for union leaders at the expense of workers, small businesses and freedom of choice. On May 2, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2019.

The stated purpose of the legislation is “to strengthen protections for employees engaged in collective bargaining,” but the result would be less freedom and fewer jobs for workers. It would, however, increase the union share of the workforce and, thus, increase union coffers.

Here are just a few examples of how that would work.

The most egregious provision of the PRO Act seeks to allow unions to get workers fired if they choose not to pay them. The act removes from states their ability to enact right-to-work laws, thus forcing private sector workers in the 27 states with these laws to start paying unions against their will.

The PRO Act also expands the list of workers that unions can organize and allows them almost unfettered access to their targets.

The PRO Act curtails workers’ ability to be independent contractors, upending one of the fastest-growing segments of the modern workforce. It would stifle employment innovation simply so workers can be shoehorned into traditional union organizing models and unions can try to organize them.

If a union does try to organize a company, the bill would put into law a controversial action by the Obama administration to give employers only two days to give unions information on their employees and vastly speed up the union election process.

Worse for employees, employers would have to hand over more than simply their names and contact information at the workplace. The legislation would force the employer to hand over employee “home addresses, …  and, if available to the employer, personal landline and mobile phone numbers, and work and personal email addresses.”

Once a union has the list of employees and all their information, there is nothing that would require the information be kept private or prevent the unions from using it for purposes other than collective bargaining. For example, nonprofits can rent their list of donors, members and others to make money. Employee information, then, could be sold to political action committees, other unions or other nonprofits. Employees may see an increase in marketing emails, phone calls and mail.

The PRO Act makes it illegal for an employer and employees to voluntarily agree to settle certain employment claims out of court and with an arbitrator. There is one exception, however: The provision does not apply if the employee is under a union contract. In other words, individual employees and employers are not allowed to reach an agreement, but a union can manage to waive the rights of all the employees it represents.

In an even more brazen show of hypocrisy, while the act limits the rights of individual employees to go into arbitration it actually allows unions to force employers into the process. If a union organizes a company but then does not reach an agreement in a short time, it can start a process that eventually leads to … wait for it … forced arbitration. An arbitrator then can write a two-year contract and lock the company into the terms.

The PRO Act also would put into statute another controversial Obama-era rule that made small mom-and-pop franchise owners “joint employers” with their franchisors. The idea is that, instead of having to go from small business to small business to organize workers, the union can simply go to one large franchise corporation and essentially do a one-stop organizing drive. Again, the legislation streamlines the process to add new (forced-dues-paying) members.

The joint employer provision adds undue burdens and takes away the freedom and entrepreneurship that makes these small businesses thrive and gives millions of people jobs.

All these provisions would result in less freedom and fewer jobs for workers, and increase the regulatory burden on small businesses — the backbone of the U.S. economy.

Workers should be given the opportunity to freely choose whether to join and pay a union. Workers should be in control of when and how their private information is shared with groups and organizations. When it comes to the terms and conditions of their employment, workers should have more say, not less. Small businesses should be freed from regulatory burdens so that they and their employees can flourish.

The PRO Act is not only pro-forced unionization, it is anti-worker and anti-freedom.

F. Vincent Vernuccio is a senior fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute located in Midland, Mich. Follow him on Twitter @vinnievernuccio.

Morgan Shields is legal counsel and director of Workers for Opportunity at the Mackinac Center.

To access the op-ed, 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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