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United States House of Representatives Passes the PRO Act

Last night, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 842, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), by a vote of 225-206. 

This extremely anti-business bill passed mostly along party lines with five Republicans voting yes and one Democrat voting no. The PRO Act seeks to codify a union wish list of proposals including shortening the time for a union election, expanding the definition of a joint-employer, and drastically reigning in the ability to work as an independent contractor.

Of specific interest to TRALA, this bill brings back much of the so called “card check” rule which shortened the timeframe for a union election, greatly reducing the time for debate on the advantages and disadvantages of unionization. Furthermore, this provision requires employers to provide union organizers with employee contact information without prior approval from the employee, and it eliminates an employer's ability to challenge union misconduct during an election. Additionally, this bill would codify the Browning-Ferris decision on joint-employers, which expanded the definition of a joint-employer to include indirect employers. This provision is particularly harmful to franchisors and companies who use subcontractors.
 
Additionally, the PRO Act would federalize the highly controversial California Assembly Bill 5 law, which adopted the “ABC test” for determining whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor. The ABC test places the burden of proving a worker is an independent contractor on the employer and creates a very high threshold for independent contractor status. Furthermore, this bill codifies the Persuader Rule which limits the ability of an employer to receive advice on unionization efforts by forcing them to disclose those conversations to the Department of Labor. Furthermore, the PRO Act would end Right-to-Work provisions by requiring employees to contribute fees to a union organization, which would also invalidate Right-to-Work laws which have been passed in 27 states. Finally, this bill removes the ban on secondary boycotts by allowing unions to impose economic injury on neutral third parties that are not involved in an underlying labor dispute, including consumers, companies, or other unions that do business with the company involved in the dispute.

TRALA, as a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), has sent multiple letters to members of Congress urging them to oppose this language. Additionally, TRALA has directly lobbied Members of Congress on many of the provisions included in this bill and explained how harmful they would be to business. This bill will now be sent to the Senate where it will likely be filibustered by Senate Republicans. A Republican filibuster of the PRO Act along with the Republicans' planned filibusters regarding additional Democrat priorities will likely lead to increased pressure on Democratic leadership to use the nuclear option on the legislative filibuster and amend the vote to end debate to a simple majority vote. If this were to occur, it is unclear whether Republicans could swing one Democratic vote to their side to block its passage.
 
You may view the PRO Act by clicking here and you may view the most recent letter sent to Congress from CDW by clicking here.
 
If you have any questions regarding the PRO Act please contact Andrew Stasiowski at astasiowski@trala.org or Jake Jacoby at jjacoby@trala.org or by calling (703)299-9120.