By DAN FAGAN
If the federal Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act becomes law, it will make it much harder to work as an independent contractor or become self-employed. It would also destroy thousands of small businesses.
Simply put, the Big Labor-backed, and Joe Biden-supported PRO Act is an assault on capitalism and a huge step toward socialism and eventually communism.
Alaska Congressman Don Young was one of only five Republicans to vote for the PRO Act when it passed the House.
No surprise there. Young has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Labor for years.
The legislation now sits in the Senate where Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski remain undecided on the freedom-destroying bill.
For six decades, Big Labor has struggled convincing private sector workers to join unions and pay dues. Private sector union membership in America has been as high as 35 percent. Today, it’s in the single digits and dropping.
The PRO Act would tilt the playing field considerably in favor of dues-collecting labor union bosses at the peril of small business owners and the self-employed.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce described the PRO Act as “a litany of almost every failed idea from the past 30 years of labor policy.”
The PRO Act ends the secret ballot for workers when they’re voting on whether to unionize at their job. The worker will be forced to vote via a check card, meaning the union boss will know which workers voted against their efforts. That could cost the worker if the business becomes unionized.
The PRO Act would force workers to pay dues even if they voted against joining the union. The legislation would also gut protections in the 27 states that passed Right to Work legislation, Alaska not being one of them.
The bill also has a “You can never leave provision.” Once workers vote to unionize at a business, they are not allowed to vote the union out.
Under current labor laws, if employees at a unionized business strike, the company has the right to lock the workers out. The PRO Act takes away that right from business owners.
The PRO Act would also force most independent contractors to become employees. This aspect of the bill would all but kill the gig economy and companies like Uber and Lyft.
The emergence of ride sharing has been a win-win for both drivers and riders. It means drivers never have to worry about making ends meet. For passengers, it provides a much cheaper and less smelly mode of transportation.
But as with anything that’s too good to be true, you can count on union boss puppet politicians like Congressman Don Young to end it. Unions don’t care much for the free market.
In California, the state legislature passed a similar law to the PRO Act. After the bill passed, Uber and Lyft were poised to shut down in the state until an appeals court allowed the companies to continue to temporarily treat their drivers as independent contractors.
California voters then passed a ballot initiative exempting Uber and Lyft drivers from being forced to becoming employees.
The PRO Act would hit Alaska’s construction industry especially hard.
“The PRO Act poses a significant threat to the viability of the commercial construction industry, its long history of offering advancement and opportunity to all workers and its ability to rebuild our economy and revive our nation,” according to a statement by the Associated General Contractors.
The PRO Act would allow union bosses to force business owners to turn over their employees’ personal information like cell phone numbers and email addresses. The legislation puts no limits on how union bosses can use the private information.
The PRO Act is a deeply punitive measure for small businesses. If a small business owner hires a contract worker, that worker will be considered an employee entitled to full benefits.
If this legislation passes, owning a small business will become much more expensive.
The PRO Act is an all-out assault on the free market and capitalism. The fact that Murkowski and Sullivan refuse to lead the fight against such legislation, or even refuse to commit to vote against the bill, speaks volumes about them.
As for Don “Big Labor” Young, it’s more of the same.
Dan Fagan hosts the top rated morning drive radio show on Newsradio 650, KENI.