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The Center signs on to letter urging Congress to defend American workers from union coercion

Led by the Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of more than 60 organizations across the country, including the Center, sent a letter today to Congress urging its members to vote against the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

The PRO Act, introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott in May, puts the interests of big labor ahead of American workers and taxpayers. Harmful provisions of the Act include codifying Obama-era rules and decisions that would put many employees and small businesses out of work and shorten the time frame of an election to unionize workers, which gives workers an inadequate amount of time to learn how unionization would affect them.

The legislation would also force all private sector workers to pay fees to labor unions whether they want to support them or not. This would deny First Amendment rights to these workers while lining unions’ pockets with dues money.

The PRO Act is anything but pro-worker; it works against American workers in order to help labor union bosses. This is not the first attempt congressional Democrats have made to hijack American labor law, and like those other attempts, this one should be soundly rejected too.

To read the full letter the Center signed on to, click here, or read it below.

September 16, 2019

Dear Member of Congress,

We are writing in opposition to the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott introduced the PRO Act in the Senate (S. 1306) and House of Representatives (H.R. 2474) on May 2, 2019.

We oppose the PRO Act because the legislation would harm workers and taxpayers by codifying many of the Obama-era rules and decisions that led to higher unemployment and a stagnant economy. Representatives who vote for this bill are simply helping labor union bosses, their campaign contributors, at the expense of American workers.

For example, one of the Act’s harmful provisions would codify the National Labor Relations Board’s 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries decision. That decision expanded the definition of joint employer and increased liability for many businesses, especially franchises. In fact, the International Franchise Association has found that the expanded joint employer rule costs the franchise sector as much as $33.3 billion annually and has led to 376,000 lost job opportunities. Codifying this NLRB decision would effectively eliminate this business model, putting many employees and small businesses out of work. However, big labor would benefit from this provision because they could unionize these employees more easily.

This bill would also force all private sector workers to pay fees to labor unions, whether they wanted to support them or not. This would effectively invalidate all state Right-to-Work laws and would deny First Amendment rights to these workers. This provision hurts workers because right-to-work laws have benefited workers. From 2008 – 2018, for example, the percentage growth in the number of people employed in right-to-work states was 10.8%, while the percentage for those in forced-unionism states was much lower at 5%. Invalidating these laws would, therefore, hurt workers and employers, but would provide more dues to unions.

Another business model that is severely threatened by this legislation is the gig economy. The PRO Act would codify California’s new “ABC” test to determine who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. This test makes it harder for employers to hire independent contractors, but makes it easier for unions to unionize workers. According to the Federal Reserve, about 3 in 10 Americans work in the gig economy, and these workers would be at risk for losing their jobs.

One final example is the provision that would codify the Obama-era ambush elections rule. That rule shortened the time frame of an election to unionize workers and provided the contact information of workers without their consent to labor unions. This rule harmed workers by providing them with an inadequate amount of time to learn how unionization would affect them. In addition, unions would be able to violate the privacy of workers once they had their contact information. Once again, with a shortened time frame and the contact information of workers, labor bosses could more easily unionize these workers.

Because the legislation harms workers in order to help labor union bosses, we strongly urge Members of Congress to vote against the PRO Act.

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