What You Need to Know About HR 842, Congress’ “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act”
The PRO Act is a one-size-fits-all piece of legislation that is ill-suited for a 21st-century workforce. Supporters of the PRO Act (H.R. 842) insist the legislation is a solution for workers, but in overturning established labor law, the PRO Act would fundamentally disrupt employees’ relationships with their employers. In reality, the bill is little more than a union wish-list, one that gives unprecedented power to unions and eliminates worker choice.
If passed, the PRO Act would:
- Destroy 27 states’ right-to-work laws, which give workers the freedom to choose whether or not to pay union dues at private companies. (People who work in the public sector already have the freedom not to join unions or pay union dues, thanks to Janus v. AFSCME.)
- Overrule state law. Many right-to-work states have enshrined the law in their state constitutions – but in a vigorous assault on federalism, the PRO Act would simply overrule state law.
- Wipe out the income of millions of American workers who choose to freelance or work as independent contractors. The PRO Act would impose the California-style “ABC Test” nationally, making it almost impossible for many workers to qualify as independent contractors (ICs).
- Contradict the will of the vast majority of freelancers and “gig” economy workers. Despite the flexibility of freelancing, and despite the fact that nearly 80% of ICs prefer their situation to full-time regular employment, the PRO Act would eliminate or significantly limit their options.
- Provide new openings for harassment and intimidation from union leaders. The PRO Act would force employers to hand over employees’ contact information, including their home addresses and cell phone numbers, to unions. Union leaders already have extensive leeway in communicating with employees; the PRO Act would allow them to move their tactics to employees’ homes.
- Repeal the ban on secondary boycotts, allowing unions to harass any company that does business with a company where a union is trying to organize. The PRO Act would expand pickets, boycotts, and harassment against a new universe of companies that are only tangentially associated with the union’s target.
- Stack the deck against employers and employees in favor of unions. The PRO Act would limit conversations between unions and employers, stifle education opportunities, and prevent employers from challenging union practices.
The PRO Act would disempower individual workers and disrupt employer-employee relationships, while giving outsized influence to labor unions. The economic impacts are real: the PRO Act would cost employers up to $12 billion—the last thing they need after the economically devastating COVID-19 pandemic—and result in economic losses of up to $33 billion.
The Pro Act and ALEC Model Policies
The PRO Act contradicts numerous ALEC Model Policies that seek to preserve the rights of individual employees and employers as well as the relationships between them. In addition to others, the PRO Act contradicts the ALEC Right to Work Act, the ALEC Resolution Opposing “Card Check” and Forced, Compulsory Binding Arbitration, the ALEC Resolution on Secondary Boycotts, and the ALEC Resolution on Legislation that Interferes with Business Agreements.
For all these reasons, ALEC Action urges all Congressional Representatives and Senators to oppose the PRO Act (H.R. 842).
“Labor Law Reform On the Horizon: Ten Things to Watch Under the PRO Act,” The National Law Review
PRO Act Will Hurt Gig Economy Workers and Independent Contractors, Citizens Against Government Waste
“How the PRO Act Could Hurt Freelance Writers (& What You Can Do About It),” All Freelance Writing
“The PRO Act is Becoming Labor’s Amateur Hour,” Forbes
“Right-to-Work Resources,” National Conference of State Legislatures
“PRO Act would jeopardize gig work, independent contractors: Commentary,” The Orlando Sentinel
“Protecting the Right to Organize Act” Backgrounder, Institute for the American Worker
“Labor’s Litany of Dangerous Ideas: The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act,” US Chamber of Commerce