The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act pending in the U.S. Senate represents a radical rewrite of our country’s labor laws and would have major drawbacks for workers and employers, including those in Arizona.
Many of the changes called for in the PRO Act would be incredibly counterproductive to U.S. economic recovery. The legislation would disregard the privacy rights of America’s workers and remove traditional worker freedoms, while also severely disrupting economic activity in states across the country.
Fortunately, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have not yet co-sponsored this legislation. As long as they continue to stand up for the workers and businesses in Arizona, the PRO Act cannot become law.
PRO Act could violate worker rights
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an agency within the federal government, is responsible for conducting secret ballot elections to determine if workers want to join a union. These elections are closely monitored by the NLRB to make sure they remain secure and employees can vote without harassment or coercion from unions.
However, the bill would undermine employees’ privacy by letting unions evade this process by objecting to the vote process or convincing the Democrat controlled NLRB of a violation, which would then substitute an election with a “card check” process under which unions would know how a worker votes.
This method of voting would essentially remove the privacy of voting that Americans and our democracy provide at the election booth.
This lack of privacy could be especially problematic for employees in Arizona who do not want to join a union.
Some could be influenced into voting in favor of unionizing out of fear of repercussions or retaliation from labor organizers.
It’s important to note that employers would also have to share the employee’s personal information, such as home phone numbers, addresses and cellphone numbers with union organizers, and the employees would have no control over how their information was utilized, or whether it was shared with other parties. This reckless sharing of information could endanger employees, who could be at risk of harassment and stalking.
It could put some businesses out of business
But that is just one of many pitfalls of the PRO Act. I’ve worked with businesses for many years, and I am fearful of how this legislation could affect the economic prosperity of employees and entrepreneurs.
Arizona’s small businesses and workers, are trying to recover from the pandemic and the resulting rise in unemployment. Unfortunately, the PRO Act would be an economic setback.
Independent contractors in Arizona have appreciated the flexibility of working their own hours. For some, this was the motivating factor in taking on such roles. But the PRO Act would take those privileges away by enacting a new standard for classifying workers – the ABC test.
The ABC test, previously implemented in California, would categorize most independent contractors as formal employees. This would mean limited independence for workers. And eventually, Arizona’s gig economy workers and freelancers could begin to see fewer opportunities for work.
Why set back the economy now?
The PRO Act would remove right-to-work laws in 27 states, including Arizona. Without these laws, workers could actually be fired for opting out of paying dues to an unwanted union.
The economic benefits of right-to-work laws have been debated for many years; however, in looking at the data, one could argue that these laws are associated with meaningful economic benefits. A study by NERA Economic Consulting found that over a 15-year time period, states with right-to-work laws saw lower unemployment rates than states without such laws.
This invasive legislation is not fair to Arizona’s workers, nor is it productive.
As the PRO Act awaits its fate in the U.S. Senate, union organizers will continue to push for this dangerous bill, pointing to a make-believe story on how it supports employees when in reality it will violate worker rights and cause many business to close their doors. Arizona’s economy is on the rise as evidenced by recent reports, and the PRO Act would threaten this progress.
Arizona voters who want to protect our small businesses and save thousands of jobs should thank Sens. Sinema and Kelly for not co-sponsoring this dangerous bill.