A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report spells out the ways workers nationwide would lose freedoms and protections if Congress passes the “PRO Act.”
“The PRO Act empowers unions at the expense of workers,” said Sean Higgins, CEI research fellow and author of the report. “The PRO Act ends right-to-work protections in over two dozen states, makes it harder for workers to choose contract or freelance work, and involuntarily divulges worker contact information to unions,” Higgins explained.
Union membership peaked at one-third of all workers during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, but now it’s just 6.3 percent of private sector workers. “Labor unions want the PRO Act to stop plummeting membership and increase revenue from dues,” Higgins explained. “But federal labor policy should be aimed at maximizing worker freedom, not growing union power.”
The report specifies the ways in which the PRO Act benefits unions at the expense of workers:
- Abolishes state right to work laws;
- Undermines entrepreneurs by broadening the definition of “joint employment”;
- Limits freelance/contract work by redefining the word “contractor” to resemble “employee”;
- Divulges worker phone numbers and email addresses to unions mounting an organizing bid;
- Makes unions automatic winners in disputed elections;
- House version of the bill gives the Secretary of Labor unnecessary, overly broad powers to investigate alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
- Allows the creation of “micro-unions” in workplaces but without opt-out rights for workers.
Instead of empowering unions, CEI has urged lawmakers to take steps to expand worker freedom. For example:
- Pass legislation that enables employers to offer innovative compensation packages and flexible schedules (like paid leave in lieu of time-and-a-half wages) without fear of regulator persecution;
- Ease outdated and harmful regulations to make it easier for people to start their own businesses;
- Enact policies to ensure it is easier for people to choose freelance or contract work and the flexibility that comes with it;
- Eliminate union exclusive representation so that unions need only represent workers who choose to be represented;
- Prohibit unions from penalizing workers who wish to decertify (end) union representation.