March 8, 2021

Proposed Bill Would Overhaul Union Organizing Process

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on pro-union legislation entitled the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) have come out against the bill for the “radical” way it would rewrite the country’s labor laws and implement policies that were previously rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them. The bill would undermine worker rights, drag employers into unrelated labor disputes, disrupt the economy, and force individual Americans to pay union dues regardless of their wishes.

According to the NAW, the proposed changes in the bill include:

  • Replacing the private, secret ballot in union certification elections with a system called “card check.” Secret ballots are the only way to protect an individual’s freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion.
  • Would prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts.
  • Would require employers to provide union organizers the contact information for all employees without prior approval from the employees themselves. Nor would the employees be able to opt-out of this requirement or have a say in which contact information is provided, exposing them to potential harassment and intimidation tactics.
  • Eliminates Right-to-Work protections for workers across the country, including in the 27 states that have passed Right-to-Work laws.
  • Significantly shortens the representation election time frame, allowing organizers to silence debate about the possible disadvantages of unionization generally or the specific union in question.
  • Eliminates employers’ ability to challenge union misconduct during elections and greatly expands the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) power to impose union representation on employers and employees without an election.
  • Expands the standard for determining when two separate companies are “joint-employers” and forces “joint-employers” to be mutually responsible for labor violations.
  • Would force a breach of attorney-client confidentiality and make it more difficult for employers to access legal counsel or other expert advice on complex labor and employee relations issues during union organizing drives.
  • Allows unions to engage in recognitional picketing indefinitely.

The NAW is strongly urging businesses to reach out to their legislators to oppose the PRO Act by visiting this link. The U.S. Chamber is also offering a form email business owners can send to Congress here.