State Legislators: Tell Congress to Protect Worker Freedom and Oppose the PRO Act

Dear Members of Congress,

We the undersigned legislators, in partnership with ALEC Action, the 501 (c)(4) affiliate of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the largest voluntarily membership organization of state legislators who support limited government, free markets and federalism, strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. This bill would undermine the rights of workers, consumers, and employers in our districts; disrupt the economic vibrance of our communities; and harm America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. H.R. 842 is a direct attack on the principle of federalism and state autonomy preempting state laws that have been developed by legislators across the country to best serve the unique needs and demands of their state’s constituents.

H.R. 842 would harm the individual rights of workers in order to increase the coercive power of labor unions. The bill would ban state right-to-work laws that allow workers to decide for themselves whether to join or pay a union, forcing workers to pay hundreds of dollars a year in union dues regardless of whether they want or need union representation. Right-to-work laws have expanded personal freedom and improved the economic environment in 27 states to date, but H.R. 842 would scrap decades of progress with a single mandate from Washington.

The bill would also force employers to hand over employees’ personal contact information such as their home address, landline and cellphone numbers, work and personal email addresses, and more to union organizers without employees having any say in the matter. Moreover, the bill could allow unions to be certified through a so-called “card check” process, depriving Americans the opportunity to vote for representation in the workplace the same way they vote for representation in government: with a secret ballot election. In addition, in the event of a collective bargaining impasse, the bill’s binding arbitration process would foist a binding contract onto workers without workers ever having the opportunity to vote for or against it.

H.R. 842 also contains several provisions that undermine employers’ rights. For example, while massively expanding the ability of unions to harass workers, the bill requires employers to disclose to the federal government private conversations with attorneys, and the bill would ban employers from holding meetings with their own employees in their own workplace to discuss the unionization process. Moreover, it would eliminate employers’ standing in resolving union election issues with the National Labor Relations Board, depriving them of a voice in a process with potentially enormous implications for their business.

The bill contains several other provisions that would harm local economies and ultimately make America less competitive. Repealing the ban on secondary boycotts would subject countless more businesses and consumers in our communities to undeserved union harassment. Codifying the Browning-Ferris joint-employer standard would significantly undermine opportunities for franchising, which represents an important and accessible opportunity for entrepreneurship in cities and towns across America. Increasing barriers to independent contractor status by imposing California’s AB-5 style “ABC” test nationwide would deprive millions the flexibility and entrepreneurial opportunity available through innovations such as the “gig” economy. Allowing civil penalties for unfair labor practices would further weaponize labor law enforcement, adding enormous new costs and compliance burdens that would make it less attractive to invest in American workers.

These and other provisions amount to a widespread assault on working Americans, Main Street businesses and consumers who all together serve as the engine of our economy. Enacting these changes would decrease liberty and prosperity simply in order to empower a single special interest group. Year after year, Americans have demonstrated that they support worker freedom and workplace democracy, and Congress should not undermine these important values. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.


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