As Congress begins debating the PRO Act later this week in the House of Representatives, it is important to understand that the measure fundamentally changes dozens of long-established labor laws that would create conditions where unions hold virtually all the leverage in collective bargaining and unionizing efforts. At the same time, the measure would force employers to divulge private information about their employees, denies workers the absolute right to a secret ballot and makes it virtually impossible for entrepreneurs to start their own small, independent businesses.
The PRO Act is Anti-Construction
By removing reasonable limitations on many types of labor actions, the PRO Act could force a halt to construction work on countless construction projects around the country, even if the firms are not involved in a dispute, organizing drive or any other type of negotiation with the picketing union. The measure is also particularly harmful to union contractors, as documented in this white paper, including by undermining the established collective bargaining process.
The PRO Act is Anti-Worker
By allowing what are known as secondary boycotts – which allow unions to picket against any employer regardless of whether they are involved in a dispute with that union – the PRO Act means many workers will be idled, without pay, for disputes where they do not stand to benefit. The measure also makes it extremely difficult for entrepreneurial workers to establish their own businesses. That is because the PRO Act includes measures that would prohibit businesses from hiring independent contractors.
The PRO Act is Anti-Privacy
The PRO Act forces employers to turn over employees’ personal, identifiable information – including name, home address, phone numbers, email address and shift schedules – to unions so they can be solicited by organizers. There is no provision for employees to opt out of this disclosure of their personal information or protections limiting its use. The measure also threatens workers’ absolute right to a free, fair, and secret union ballot. It instead allows unionization votes to be decided in many cases based on how many employees sign, in public, cards indicating their support for the union.
The PRO Act in Anti-Recovery
The PRO Act will create an extremely unbalanced relationship between unions and employers. This new dynamic will give unions broad latitude and incentives to initiative strikes, work slowdowns, sick outs, pickets and other disruptive protests to exert maximum influence on collective bargaining, intra-union jurisdictional disputes and other economic transactions. It will be hard for the economy to recover if workplaces across the country are subject to sudden, unpredictable and recurring labor actions.