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IEC, AGC Speak Up Against PRO Act

IEC, AGC Speak Up Against PRO Act

Both the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) have come out with statements against the legislation that recently passed in the House of Representatives known as the PRO Act, or the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

The IEC stands in opposition to the reintroduction of the PRO Act, which claims to be a bill that advances the rights of the worker. According to the IEC however, the bill would “radically alter our nation’s labor laws in favor of organized labor at the expense of both employees and employers. Among its many provisions, the PRO Act threatens an employee’s right to a secret ballot in union elections, eliminates state right-to-work protections, jeopardizes the traditional contractor-subcontractor relationship, and permits the secondary boycotts of entities not directly involved in labor disputes.”

“While our country continues to struggle to recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, IEC contractors deeply question the need for putting forth such far-reaching and punitive legislation, such as the PRO Act,” said Spenser Villwock, IEC’s chief executive officer. “This proposal is fundamentally against the values of the free market and philosophy of meritocracy that we believe is truly the best version of America. Let us go forward, not regress.”

Meanwhile, the Associated General Contractors of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement:

“The PRO Act is anti-worker, anti-privacy and anti-recovery. The measure threatens workers’ absolute right to a free, fair and secret union ballot. There is something fundamentally un-American about subjecting workers to intimidation and coercion when it comes to deciding whether and how to organize and seek representation at the workplace.

“By allowing secondary boycotts and other actions against firms that are not directly involved in labor disputes, the measure means many workers could be idled for a dispute where they do not stand to benefit. This would also put union construction firms at a competitive disadvantage, as owners seek firms less likely to be impacted by unrelated labor disputes.

“The measure also makes it extremely difficult for entrepreneurial workers to establish their own businesses by discriminating against independent contractors. These provisions will undermine many working people’s ambitions to establish their own firms and become self-employed.

“The measure also harms the tens of thousands of construction firms that choose to hire union workers. That is because the Pro Act undermines the collective bargaining process that has worked to successfully elevate construction workers into the upper ranks of the middle class for the past half century.

“More broadly, the PRO Act will unleash a new era of labor unrest and strikes that will make France look like the land of labor harmony compared to the U.S. It is hard to imagine how the country can build back better when work is idled, workers are unpaid and projects go uncompleted.

“We view this measure as a significant threat to the viability of the commercial construction industry, its long history of offering advancement and opportunity to all workers and its ability to rebuild our economy and revive our nation. That is why we will take every possible step to ensure that the ‘PRO Act’ does not become law.”

In a later statement, Sandherr said the following: “Instead of finding ways to build back better, these new congressional proposals would leave many workers unpaid and untrained while projects languish, unfinished. It is hard to see how cutting funding to training programs, undermining workers, and crippling the economy will help put more people back to work in construction or other fields.”

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