The ‘worst bill in Congress’ is back

The PRO Act is bad for businesses and worse for workers while pandemic hardships continue
Edwin Egee
VP, GR and Workforce Development
February 4, 2021

The “worst bill in Congress” is back — and this time it has a real chance of becoming permanent federal law.

Organized labor is once again pushing the disastrous Protecting the Right to Organize Act. The PRO Act is a behemoth bill that includes dozens of extreme labor proposals that would destroy businesses and diminish employees’ rights to privacy.

Challenging times

Given the ongoing pandemic, it is a particularly cruel time for organized labor to promote its extreme agenda. In their quest for more money and power, labor lobbyists are pushing legislation aimed at small business — the heart of the American economy.

PRO Act 

Learn more about the PRO Act on our action portal here.

Rather than searching for ways to help these employers confront the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, many in Congress seek to do the bidding of organized labor. Evidently, they would prefer to make employers easy prey for plaintiffs’ attorneys and to legalize secondary boycotts, allowing union hardliners to picket employers’ facilities and harass their employees, families, customers, friends and neighbors.

As bad as the PRO Act is for businesses, it’s worse for workers. Among the PRO Act’s most disastrous provisions are those that compromise workers’ privacy. No longer would workers have the right to a secret ballot in union elections. No longer would workers be able to stop union organizers from accessing their personal information. No longer would workers be given the free choice of whether to join a union without risking their jobs. No longer would workers be able to market their skills and contract independently with businesses.

Legislation details

The legislation includes more than 30 proposals. In addition to “card check” union-organizing elections where workers would lose their right to a private ballot, it includes “ambush” elections that give little notice to employers, formation of “micro” unions within a single department or location of a company, cancellation of state right-to-work laws, expansion of “joint employer” status that can make a company responsible for the actions of its subcontractors or franchisees, adoption of California’s “ABC test” for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors, and disclosure of employees’ private contact information to unions.

The PRO Act passed the House in February 2020 despite bipartisan opposition but fortunately went no further. With the beginning of a new session of Congress, however, it is expected to be reintroduced in the coming weeks. The retail industry is ready and eager to work with the Biden administration and the new majority in Congress on issues ranging from vaccine distribution to immigration reform. But the PRO Act is a laundry list of failed pro-union policies that have been rejected on a bipartisan basis in Congress, overturned by federal courts and/or abandoned by the National Labor Relations Board. It is clearly the wrong course in today’s economy.

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