In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, also known as the PRO Act. The new legislation would provide additional protection for workers trying to organize. However, the bill is unlikely to find support in the Senate.
When the bill was introduced last year, it passed the Democratic-controlled House, but was never taken up in the Senate. Today, Democrats have a razor-thin majority in the Senate but not enough votes to overcome a filibuster.
President Biden, who pledged to be “the strongest labor president you have ever had” would sign the bill, which was a cornerstone of his election platform.
If passed, the PRO Act will result in some of the most significant changes to labor law in decades.
Union leaders say the PRO Act would level a playing field that they claim is unfairly tilted in favor of big business and management and would make union organizing efforts and elections easier.
Big business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are against the measure, saying it would “undermine worker rights, ensnare employers in unrelated labor disputes, disrupt the economy, and force individual Americans to pay union dues regardless of their wishes." The National Retail Federation has called it "the worst bill in Congress."
The PRO Act would result in the most significant changes to labor Law in decades. If passed, the Act would:
If passed, the PRO Act would make vast, union-friendly changes to the NLRA. Even if the Act itself is not signed into law, parts of the bill may still pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Biden.
Republicans argue that the Act would take away the freedoms of entrepreneurs and individual workers, many of whom are taking advantage of the ability to work as independent contracts, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They claim that the Act would take millions of dollars away from workers’ paychecks, cost employers an estimated $47 billion in new annual costs, infringe on workers’ First Amendment rights, and put small businesses at risk.
The prospects of passing the PRO Act are still unclear. The Act has passed the House, but is unclear whether it has support from all 50 Senate Democrats. Even if the PRO Act does not pass in its entirety, portions of the Act may be introduced as add-on legislation to other bills or through executive action.
Our mission is to move our clients forward. If you have questions about how the PRO Act might l affect your business, or other labor or employment questions, the business lawyers at Fremstad Law are here to help.
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