Retailers call pro-union PRO Act 'unworkable'

"This bill is completely unworkable for any employer large or small."

NRF Senior Vice President David French

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today called on Congress to reject a new effort to pass legislation that combines a wide range of long-debated proposals into a single bill intended to dramatically expand the power of labor unions.

“NRF has significant concerns with this sweeping legislation and its infringement on both employee and employer rights,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The policies embedded in the PRO Act are beyond the pale of reasonable workplace policy. The legislation puts the interests of labor organizers and powerful unions before the rights of employees and employers. NRF stands ready to work with members of Congress on commonsense policies to foster economic growth but this bill is completely unworkable for any employer large or small.”

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act was introduced Thursday with House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., as its lead sponsors. French’s comments came in a letter to members of the House and Senate.

The PRO Act passed the House in February 2020 but went no further. NRF called the measure “the worst bill in Congress” in a recent blog post because of its wide-ranging impact.

The legislation includes more than 30 proposals, most of which have been previously rejected by Congress, the courts or the agencies that would administer them. Included are “card check” union-organizing elections where workers would lose their right to a private ballot, “ambush” elections giving 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.

Over the past decade, NRF has worked with the White House and Congress and in the courts to oppose most of the provisions included in the PRO Act when they were first proposed as standalone initiatives. NRF co-chairs the lobbying committee of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was formed to oppose anti-business and anti-worker labor laws, regulations and rulings that threaten job creation and economic growth.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.