February 3, 2020

U.S. House Will Vote On Major Labor Legislation This Week—Make Your Voice Heard

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote this Thursday on H.R. 2474,) the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act. With almost half of the chamber—218 lawmakers—co-sponsoring the legislation, the bill is likely to pass. (It is unclear if the U.S. Senate will take up the legislation this year, however.) With the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), MSCi sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to oppose H.R. 2474. The letter, which can be found here, argues the bill “would make radical changes to well-established law, diminish employees’ rights to privacy and association, destroy businesses, and threaten entire industries that have fueled innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation.”

The PRO Act contains two dozen provisions that will rewrite workplace policies for companies of all sizes.

As MSCI’s partners at CDW have explained, this legislation would:

  • Strip away workers’ free choice in union elections as well as their privacy rights;
  • Codify into law the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial joint-employer standard that has threatened our country’s small and local businesses;
  • Curb opportunities for people to work independently through gig economy platforms or more traditional independent contractor roles;
  • Eliminate Right-to-Work protections for workers across the country, including in the twenty-seven states that have passed Right-to-Work laws;
  • Interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it harder for businesses, particularly small businesses, to secure legal advice on complex labor law matters;
  • Prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts;
  • Infringe on the due process rights of employers; and
  • Strip away “secondary boycott” protections that prevent unions from using their anti-trust exemptions and immunity from certain state laws to target businesses for anti-competitive purposes other than organizing.

The changes to the classifications of independent contractors alone would cost between $3.6 billion and $12.1 billion.

The CDW urges interested parties to reach out to their representatives in Congress to voice opposition to the PRO Act. MSCI members can use CDW’s grassroots portal to reach out directly to lawmakers. CDW also has created a grassroots toolkit to help companies understand the provisions of the bill. The toolkit includes a fact sheet on the bill, a video explaining the legislation, and a sample letter to send to Congress.