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February 8, 2021

Democrats Introduce Two Bills Related To Labor Policy

On February 4, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), along with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and provided a section-by-section analysis and a fact sheet explaining the legislation.

The bill, which would significantly alter U.S. labor and employment policy, is gaining attention quickly. In fact, it already has 194 cosponsors.

The PRO Act includes over a dozen provisions that could devastate the economy during an already difficult economic time. As the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which MSCI is a member of, said, “At a time when thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and employees retained during the COVID pandemic, this bill would force businesses to close permanently and cost workers their livelihoods. Bottomline, hundreds of thousands of Americans could lose their job and important employee rights if this bill is enacted.” The CDW opposed this legislation in the last Congress and we will continue to do so.

Additionally, last month Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced legislation that directs the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) “to implement a system and procedures to conduct representation elections remotely using an electronic voting system.” Specifically, according to CDW, the bill would:

  • Allow union organizers to bypass secret ballot elections and coerce workers into supporting unionization;
  • Have a negative impact on participation rates in union elections since electronic voting routinely results in lower participation rates among workers, as compared to in-person voting; and
  • Increase fraud and potential identify theft due to the inability to authenticate who potential voters are and lack of cybersecurity protocols.

This legislation already has 77 cosponsors, including four Republicans. The CDW said the bill would needlessly expose workers to intimidation and threaten their privacy.

Finally, in related news, the new acting general counsel at the NLRB has rescinded ten guidance memos, claiming they are “inconsistent” with the goal of the National Labor Relations Act. The memo, available here, deals with several policies, including labor unions’ notification requirements to members, unions’ fair-representation obligations, employee handbook policies, and more.

The Society for Human Resources Management attempts to explain the orders here. There also is more information here.