September 13th, 2019
PRO Act is Anti-Worker, Anti-Business
Misleadingly titled legislation in Congress known as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) would upend decades of established U.S. labor law, drastically tilting the scales in favor of union organizers. This is just the latest effort to game the system by Big Labor and their congressional Democrat cronies—but it is perhaps the most egregious. It must be stopped.
What it Would Do
Think of the PRO Act like the much-maligned and previously defeated Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)—but on steroids. It’s nothing more than an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ privacy and rights.
Among other affronts to workers’ freedoms the PRO Act would:
- Insert government-appointed bureaucrats to act as the sole arbitrator in union contract negotiations. In the public sector, binding arbitration has contributed to multiple municipal bankruptcies and the public sector pension crisis. In the private sector, it could force private employers out of business entirely, putting Americans out of work, hurting working class families, and jeopardizing our entire economy.
- 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.
- Justify this blatant disregard of the will of workers by passing a “card check” system, which 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.
- 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, exposing them and their families to potential harassment and strong-arm tactics to compel them to agree to unionization.
- 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.
- Take aim at the gig economy, its 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 Bottom Line
To date, the PRO Act represents the most blatant attack on established labor law. It would undermine worker freedom and threaten worker privacy, while also hurting businesses and threatening entire industries and sectors that keep America’s economy thriving.
Given the Democratic takeover of the House in 2018, this bill’s introduction comes as little surprise, but it must still be opposed at all costs. That is why WFI echoes the concerns of 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—which came out against this bill this past summer.
If you want to take action to tell your members of Congress to reject this anti-worker, anti-business legislation, you can do so here.