- Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, will be the most aggressive and expansive legislation since the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935.
- Independent entrepreneurial Americans will be in jeopardy of losing business, liberty, and their jobs entirely.
- The PRO Act seeks to prohibit employers from bringing claims against unions that conduct such secondary strikes; permits labor organizations to encourage union members’ participation in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization
The liberal agenda is on the fast track for the Democrat Party as the labor union bill HR 842 passed the House on March 9. Effectively this labor union bill would overhaul major components of unions and their relationship with employers.
Dubbed as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, it will be the most aggressive and expansive legislation since the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935.
On the roll call, five Republicans joined the Democrats in passing the legislation. Four of which come from heavy union states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
Alaska’s only member of the house, Rep. Don Young (R-AK), voted in favor of the legislation as well. Union members accounted for 17.7% in 2020 of wage and salary workers in Alaska.
Sweeping Overhauls Of The PRO Act
The Democratic Party seeks to entrench union power once and for all. The bill will transform several vital points of how the unions will hold power over big and small businesses, employers, and employees alike.
One of the PRO Act’s major components is to weaken, if not outright, abolish right-to-work laws in up to 27 States. Right-to-work laws guarantee no person can be compelled to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.
The bill would require workers at unionized companies to pay dues. The argument is that employees opt-out of the unions and their dues are still covered under their collective bargaining agreements.
In the view of the left, this is unfair and needs to be corrected. Especially in the Supreme Court decision in 2018 in Janus V. AFSCME, the court ruled it is a violation of first amendment rights to force non-union government workers to pay dues and fees. In which that money was being spent on political speech and policy positions that many disagreed with.
The reality of the PRO Act becoming law would force many employees across the spectrum to have to pay dues and fees without a choice again.
The union bill would vastly expand the definition of “Employee,” all if not almost eliminating independent contractors’ status. Very similar to California AB5 labor law, this would affect many who classify themselves as independent contractors and freelancers, particularly disrupting insurance professionals.
There are an estimated 59 million freelance workers who represent 36% of the total U.S. workforce. The bill introduces the ABC test of the AB5 law in that freelancers will have to meet three key criteria.
First, to prove they have an “absence of control,” meaning they are not under the client’s direct control. Second, they must demonstrate the work they do is outside the course of their client’s usual business. Lastly, the third bar set relates to whether or not the contractor holds a professional license.
These difficult hurdles would greatly hinder freelance and independent workers alike across the board. They are essentially forcing employers to take them on employees for their services.
Also, another significant change would require employers to disclose and release worker’s personal information. It would be in the form a voter list of all eligible voters disclose such information as, “Such voter list shall include the names of all employees in the bargaining unit and such employees’ home addresses, work locations, shifts, job classifications, and, if available to the employer, personal landline and mobile telephone numbers, and work and personal email addresses.”
Essentially violating workers’ privacy, employees would have no recourse to prevent their information from being made public. In conjunction with the fact, the bill would also eliminate secrecy ballot elections under certain circumstances, which would expose how individuals choose to vote to be unionized. It would put targets on the backs of anyone opposing unionization to be harassed, ridiculed, pressured, etc., for future voting.
Two Sides: Support and Opposition
The union bill was introduced out of the House Committee on Health, Education, and Labor. Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), who was a primary sponsor and architect of the legislature, said,
“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act is a major step toward ensuring that workers can exercise their basic right to form a union and collectively bargain for higher pay, safer working conditions, and decent benefits – including paid leave, quality health care, and a secure retirement.”
The Democrats have a clear message, attacking the wealthy of this nation and representing the working class, as they say. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “After decades of wealthy corporations undermining our labor laws and four years of the Trump Administration’s attacks on workers’ rights, the PRO Act will restore workers’ ability to join together to demand their fair share of the economic growth they drive.”
Meanwhile, opposition to the PRO Act is criticized as all but a disastrous bill and radical legislation. Republican Leader of the Education and Labor Committee Virginia Foxx (R-NC) spoke on the House floor in opposition to HR 842, calling it “an assault on American workers, employers, and the economy…”
She also said, “This radical legislation is a political gift to union bosses that undermine workers’ rights, destroys jobs, and would cost employers billions in new annual costs…”
Shelby Givan’s story of being a mother and educator was finally forced to leave California after the AB5 Bill was enacted. Her freelance teaching work was shut down and she, “was notified that she was no longer legally allowed to work.”
“It’s like the government is trying to tell me that they know what’s best for me and for my family more than I do,” Shelby said. “They took away my right to work and my right to make decisions about my own life. It’s impacting my ability to be the mother that I want to be and forcing me to take time away from my family, and for me, that’s personal.”
The family moved to Idaho, where Shelby can freely work as she sees fit, including becoming an independent contractor once more. Her story is a glaring warning of what will happen if the union bill’s ABC criteria for contractors becomes law.
The Americans for Prosperity advocacy newsgroup wrote a letter addressed to the House Committee’s leaders on Education and Labor committee. They address eight bullet points of poignant reasoning of why they oppose the legislation.
They state, “Instead of fostering an environment of cooperative relationships between employers, workers, and labor unions, the PRO Act would undermine the choice and dignity of individual workers while granting unequal privileges to labor unions.”
Why This Matters
There are roughly thirty radical labor provisions, of which only a few main points were touched on in this article. The PRO Act seeks to prohibit employers from bringing claims against unions that conduct such secondary strikes; permits labor organizations to encourage union members’ participation in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (i.e., secondary strikes); and the list goes on.
This is not a bill to “protect” American workers; it is a labor union legislation to attack the wealthy, attack private business owners and transfer power away from them to the unions, and dismantle capitalism expressed by the entrepreneurial spirits of freelance and independent workers.
Yet again, we find ourselves with the dilemma of a nearly one-sided piece of legislation that does not represent all Americans or their interests. Instead, we are stuck with a bill that, if it became law, would only further the interests of one political party, namely the Democrats.
In their statement, they said, “While claiming to be pro-worker, we firmly believe today’s legislation is a grab-bag of harmful policies that would deprive millions of workers of their privacy and fundamentally alter our nation’s system of labor relations.”
The fact that the demands to end the filibuster are even more evidence of how damning this plan will be for America as founded. One-party rule over our land’s laws and policy will only end in tyranny, socialism, and the hard move towards communism.
Keefer is passionate about America and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. His writings focus on the intersectionality of faith and culture.