PRO Act limits worker rights

Photo Credit: Getty

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act bears the interesting distinction of being supposedly “pro-worker” legislation that mostly rolls back individual workers’ rights. The legislation’s true purpose is to ensure that union leaders can tell workers to “get in line.”

The most obvious transgression is the bill’s prohibition on state right to work laws, which 27 states currently have. All a right to work law does is say that a worker does not have to join or otherwise support a union in order to keep their job. Nothing prevents a worker from joining a union if that is what they want.

Technically, a right to work law restricts management by making it illegal for employers to sign union-management contracts that include so-called “security clauses” that force all workers to either join the union or pay it a regular fee. In right to work states, workers who believe their union is inept, corrupt, or just not representing their interests have a powerful way to hold it to account. If the PRO Act passes, those workers lose that right — and potentially part of their paycheck.

Incidentally, right to work laws are not incompatible with strong unions. Nevada has been right to work since 1952, and it has a unionization rate of 13.4 percent, well above the national average of 10.8 percent. Unions claim that workers who don’t pay dues become free riders on the backs of dues-paying workers. But it’s telling that unions never request being released from the responsibility of representing those supposed deadbeats. They’d rather have the arguing point along with the workers’ money. That’s what eliminating right to work laws is really about: making it legal for unions take money from the paychecks of people who don’t want to join.

Read the full article on The Hill.