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June 27, 2019
CONTACT: Ryan Williams
202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

PRO Act Is Anything But Pro-Worker

 

Heather Greenaway
June 26, 2019
Townhall

Legislation recently introduced in Congress would make radical changes to U.S. labor law, tilting the scales dramatically in favor of Big Labor. The woefully misguided “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” (PRO Act, for short) is remarkably similar to and even surpasses previous attempts to game the system in favor of organized labor that congressional Democrats have made in years past. Just as with these previous attempts, this bill should be soundly rejected.

That is why the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW)—a broad-based coalition of hundreds of industry associations and organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees across a range of economic sectors—recently came out against this bill, calling on legislators to reject this attempt to hijack American labor law. The Workforce Fairness Institute echoes these concerns and seconds the CDW’s call to reject this anti-worker legislation.

To date, the PRO Act represents the most blatant attack on established labor law.

If enacted, it would make significant changes to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and other laws that would undermine worker freedom and threaten worker privacy when deciding whether to unionize, while also hurting businesses and threatening entire industries and sectors that keep America’s economy thriving.

Big Labor and their allies in Congress made clear their intentions to roll back decades of established legal precedent in order to advance their unionization-at-any-cost agenda for years. With greater support in the House after the 2018 midterm elections, the timing of this bill comes as no shock to anyone who’s been paying attention. However, the fact remains that just as with EFCA, the PRO Act is nothing more than an attempt to boost flailing union membership, which has been sinking for a generation. The PRO Act is all-too-reminiscent of the previously defeated Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which also sought to rewrite U.S. labor law, on steroids.

Like EFCA, the PRO Act would insert a government-appointed bureaucrat to act as the sole arbitrator in union contract negotiations. This person could have zero business experience or knowledge of the industry in which he or she is making such important decisions. Whatever this arbitrator decides would be set in stone, regardless of the terms or practicality. This type of binding arbitration, as the CDW notes, has been disastrous for the public sector. It has been blamed for causing multiple municipal bankruptcies as well as for fueling the public sector pension crisis. The impact on the private sector would be even worse as it could simply force private employers out of business entirely, putting Americans out of work, hurting working class families, and jeopardizing our entire economy.

Another key change the PRO Act would make that essentially makes this bill EFCA 2.0 would be to strip away worker privacy by removing the all-important right to a secret ballot when determining whether or not to unionize. Secret ballots have long been a fundamental part of our democracy, and yet the PRO Act would give union organizers and the government greater power to nullify the results of a secret ballot if unionization is rejected and impose unionization anyway.

The PRO Act justifies this blatant disregard of the will of workers by making this government-imposed unionization dependent on the fact that, at some point in the past, a group of workers signed union authorization cards. Known as “card check,” this concept was a fundamental part of EFCA and has therefore already been rejected by Congress. Allowing union organizers to distribute and collect cards in full view of other employees is a process that invites coercion, intimidation, and harassment, violating a worker’s right to privacy and giving an unfair advantage to Big Labor.

The PRO Act would also require employers to provide employee contact information to union organizers without needing employees’ prior consent or approval. There would be no way for employees to opt out of this requirement, once again exposing them and their families to potential harassment and strong-arm tactics to compel them to agree to unionization. Perhaps most egregious of its provisions, this legislation would also repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws that have been adopted in 27 states, forcing workers to pay for union activities regardless of whether they support them or previously opted out.

With the gig economy booming, the PRO Act also takes aim at this emerging workforce and their rights. A provision in the legislation known as the “ABC test” would significantly reduce the options available to part-time workers to operate as independent contractors, eliminating opportunities for gig workers and threatening their independence and flexibility. The same thing is already happening on a smaller scale in California with Gig Workers Rising, a Big Labor-backed effort to reverse declining union membership by changing the laws regarding what work can classify under independent contracting.

These are just a few of the ways in which the PRO Act seeks to upend decades of established U.S. labor law in favor of union organizers. A full account of the bill’s anti-worker and anti-business provisions would be too long list here. The House of Representatives should reject this blatant attempt to hijack U.S. labor law and continue to protect workers’ fundamental rights.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

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

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Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE PRO ACT

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining. 

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces representation on employers and employees without a vote of approval, and exposes workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start. 

Tell your representative today to vote "NO" on the PRO Act. 

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Featured Blog

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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