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Labor Union 'Grab Bag' Bill Takes Away Worker Choice, Greases Wheels for Unions

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Workers should have the right and freedom to decide for themselves whether to join a union. But a proposed bill, the “Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019” (H.R. 2472), would diminish that right if passed into law, warns a new Competitive Enterprise Institute report.

“Instead of balancing the interests of workers, employers and unions, the PRO Act promotes union priorities above all else,” explained Trey Kovacs, a CEI labor policy analyst. “The legislation is a union ‘grab bag’ bill that undermines worker privacy, provides workers little time to educate themselves on unionization, and forces individuals to pay for union representation they do not want.

“Aimed at radically overhauling labor relations law, the PRO Act eliminates state right-to-work laws, discourages flexible work arrangements and franchising, and under certain circumstances takes away workers’ right to a secret-ballot election,” said Kovacs.

The report delves into the worst provisions of the PRO Act, which would:

  • Shorten the time workers have to weigh the pros and cons of deciding on union representation – known as the “ambush election rule”;
  • Muzzle employers from communicating their views on unionization;
  • Put workers’ private information at risk by forcing employers to divulge employee phone numbers and email addresses to union organizers;
  • Require workers to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment, nullifying 27 state right-to-work laws;
  • Change the definition of “joint employer,” effectively redefining contractor and franchise jobs in a way that eases union organizing;
  • Amend the federal government’s definition of “employee” in a way that categorizes more people as workers subject to unionization by restricting flexible work arrangements and creating barriers to entrepreneurship;
  • Change the rules on when arbitration must or cannot be used in dispute resolution in ways that favor unions;
  • Promote “card-check” organizing, a process that forces union representation on workers by denying them a secret ballot election.

The report, co-authored by a number of labor policy experts, points out that private sector union membership has been declining for decades and plummeted to an all-time low in 2018 due to major shifts in available jobs and in worker expectations and values. Yet, instead of adapting by offering new services that workers would voluntarily purchase and expending resources to recruit new members, unions instead have consistently chosen to use the political process to overhaul labor law and rules.

View the report: The Case Against the Protecting the Right to Organize Act by Trey Kovacs, Olivia Grady, Russell A. Hollrah, Patrick A. Hollrah, F. Vincent Vernuccio, Morgan Shields, Austen Bannan, and Russ Brown

Related analysis:  PRO Act Undermines Employee Choice