March 9, 2021, the House passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO), introduced by Bobby Scott of Virginia, in February.
H.R. 842 is a sweeping left-wing revision of labor laws. A similar bill passed the house last year but died in the Senate. The new bill hopefully will also face an uphill battle in the 50/50 split Senate as filibuster rules require 60 votes to end debate and bring it to a vote.
The PRO Act is a labor organizers dream bill. It stacks the deck against employers and employees in favor of labor unions by preventing employers from challenging union practices. The economic impacts could cost employers up to $12 billion and result in economic losses of up to $33 billion.
If passed into law, it would weaken 28 state’s right-to-work laws by forcing all employees of a unionized company into paying union dues. The bill also would violate employee privacy by forcing disclosure of all employees’ home addresses, work locations, shifts, job classifications, cellphone and landline numbers along with work and personal e-mail addresses.
In addition, PRO would amend the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act to require employers and their advisors to file public reports with the Department of Labor disclosing any arrangement that indirectly persuades employees regarding union organizing or collective bargaining. This provision improperly revokes attorney-client privilege, discouraging employers from seeking legal advice, a concept that was barred from going into effect under the Obama administration’s so-called persuader rule.
The bill also would shorten union election time frames by requiring employers to provide the list of eligible employees to be organized within two days of when a union petition had been filed. This time frame is inadequate for employers and increases their liability for an unfair labor practice if the information is inaccurate.
In addition the bill would repeal the ban on secondary boycotts, allowing unions to harass companies that do business with a company where a union is trying to organize. The bill would expand pickets, boycotts, and harassment against a new universe of companies that are only tangentially associated with the union’s target.
It will amend the National Labor Relations Act to limit workers’ ability to be classified as independent contractors by assuming a worker to be an employee unless they meet the three criteria of the ABC test, even though only 1 out of every 10 independent contractors prefers a traditional employment relationship. Assuming 15 to 50 percent of independent contractors would be reclassified as employees under the ABC test; businesses could face between $3.6 billion and $12.1 billion in additional costs.
The PRO Act also changes the definition of a joint employer. In the past a firm had to have direct control over a worker for them to be considered an employee but the new law changes that to include entities that exert direct or indirect control over workers. This change alone would affect 44% or 54.6 million workers across industries that include contractors, subcontractors, and franchise agreements. It could lead to an annual $17 to $34 billion in lost annual output for the franchise business sector, according to American Action Forum research.
The pro union bill passed mostly along party lines with 5 Republicans – Brian Fitzpatrick of PA, John Katko of NY, Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith of NJ and Don Young of Alaska, siding with the Democrat majority.
As Lord Acton noted, “Power tends to corrupt,” and that has certainly been true for the unions. Today, unions have changed from organizations that “look out for the little guy” into the largest, most rapacious special interest group in the entire country. John Hawkins, 5 Reasons Unions Are Bad For America