BY: DAVID G. GREINEDER, IOM, ABC PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
During the campaign, then candidate Joe Biden said that he would be the “strongest labor president” if elected. Coming through on that promise, the President is in the process of forming a cabinet level working group made up of union representatives charged with delivering a plan to, “dramatically increase union density and address economic inequality.”
A likely key component of that pro-union plan is passing legislation called the “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.” In the previous Congress, the legislation, then H.R. 2474, passed the U.S. House by a vote of 224-194, largely along party-lines. Thankfully, the bill did not advance in the U.S. Senate.
This Congress, the PRO Act has been quickly re-introduced as H.R. 842, and already has 207 co-sponsors, 11 short of a majority. ABC members have heard our ABC National Office repeatedly talk about the impact the PRO Act will have on the merit shop. If enacted, the PRO Act would cover all employers and subject them to the provisions of the bill. Some major provisions include:
- Restricting an employer’s ability to communicate with employees during the organizing process.
- Interfering with attorney-client confidentiality by restricting an employer’s right to seek legal advice during the organizing process.
- Requiring employers to provide employee contact information to union organizers, without approval from the employee.
- Forcing employers into mandatory arbitration if a collective bargaining agreement is not reached within 120 days of negotiation.
- Eliminating the ban on “secondary boycotting activity,” thereby allowing unions to boycott and picket neutral contractors.
- Making contractors liable for the unlawful actions or behavior of other workers by expanding the “joint employer” standard.
- Expanding the definition of an “employee,” effectively reclassifying independent contractors as employees.
- Narrowing the definition of a supervisor by eliminating “assign” and “responsibility to direct,” allowing more workers to be covered in the collective bargaining process.
- Prohibiting an employer’s right to settle employee lawsuits through a binding arbitration process.
ABC, along with many state and national associations, oppose the PRO Act. We believe the legislation erodes over 70 years of established labor law and eliminates employer rights and protections. We know that passing the PRO Act is a priority for the U.S. House, and we expect its passage before the end of the year. We need your voice during the legislative process, and most importantly, to help prevent its passage in the U.S. Senate!
Defeating the PRO Act is a top priority for ABC. Through the Free Enterprise Alliance (FEA), ABC has invested heavily in advocacy around this issue. The FEA has an entire webpage of educational resources, including videos, fact sheets, scorecards, social media kits, petitions, economic studies, letters to Congress, and op-eds. ABC also partners with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which consists of hundreds of associations, in opposition to the bill.
Please take the time to review the resources available, click on the links, sign the petition, and let your voice be heard!
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Posted February 22, 2021