Several industry associations including The Association General Contractors of America (AGC), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) have recently published stances on the PRO Act (HR 847), which is supposed to be discussed in the House of Representatives later this week.
As Congress begins debating the PRO Act later this week in the House of Representatives, it is important to understand that the measure fundamentally changes dozens of long-established labor laws that would create conditions where unions hold virtually all the leverage in collective bargaining and unionizing efforts. At the same time, the measure would force employers to divulge private information about their employees, denies workers the absolute right to a secret ballot and makes it virtually impossible for entrepreneurs to start their own small, independent businesses.
The PRO Act is Anti-Construction
By removing reasonable limitations on many types of labor actions, the PRO Act could force a halt to construction work on countless construction projects around the country, even if the firms are not involved in a dispute, organizing drive or any other type of negotiation with the picketing union. The measure is also particularly harmful to union contractors, as documented in this white paper, including by undermining the established collective bargaining process.
The PRO Act is Anti-Worker
By allowing what are known as secondary boycotts – which allow unions to picket against any employer regardless of whether they are involved in a dispute with that union – the PRO Act means many workers will be idled, without pay, for disputes where they do not stand to benefit. The measure also makes it extremely difficult for entrepreneurial workers to establish their own businesses. That is because the PRO Act includes measures that would prohibit businesses from hiring independent contractors.
The PRO Act is Anti-Privacy
The PRO Act forces employers to turn over employees’ personal, identifiable information – including name, home address, phone numbers, email address and shift schedules – to unions so they can be solicited by organizers. There is no provision for employees to opt out of this disclosure of their personal information or protections limiting its use. The measure also threatens workers’ absolute right to a free, fair, and secret union ballot. It instead allows unionization votes to be decided in many cases based on how many employees sign, in public, cards indicating their support for the union.
The PRO Act in Anti-Recovery
The PRO Act will create an extremely unbalanced relationship between unions and employers. This new dynamic will give unions broad latitude and incentives to initiative strikes, work slowdowns, sick outs, pickets and other disruptive protests to exert maximum influence on collective bargaining, intra-union jurisdictional disputes and other economic transactions. It will be hard for the economy to recover if workplaces across the country are subject to sudden, unpredictable and recurring labor actions.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the below statement in advance of the House of Representatives’ vote on the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. In the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, a startling 97% of respondents familiar with the PRO Act said it would negatively impact operations and damage relationships with manufacturing workers.
‘When you consider the harm that it will do to the employer–employee relationship, it’s clear the PRO Act is anti-worker,’ said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. ‘As the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey highlights, manufacturers have deep concerns about the PRO Act’s intrusions on worker privacy and restrictions on workplace communication—among many other issues. It will make it harder for manufacturers to thrive and more difficult to foster positive, inclusive workplace cultures.
‘Manufacturers recognize and support workers’ federally-protected right to collectively bargain. But the PRO Act will upend the modern workplace, and it could set back our industry, our workers and their families at a time when optimism is finally on the rise.’
Background: More than 130 organizations representing manufacturers nationwide joined a NAM letter opposing the PRO Act.
H.R. 842, Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), is a complex and expansive piece of legislation. While NECA is pleased to see the bill contain a solution to the challenge of worker misclassification, we hold concerns over the potential for broader legal actions taken under this legislation. With these conflicting concerns we intend to remain neutral on the bill. Our Government Affairs staff will continue to aggressively monitor its progression and work with the Senate to improve this legislation. We will update our membership as it moves through Congress and if there are any changes in our position.
Tagged with AGC, legislation, NAED, NAM, NECA, PRO Act