Mead Treadwell: PRO Act must not be revived, as it will harm Alaska businesses

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By MEAD TREADWELL

A particularly dangerous idea has haunted at least two proposed laws in D.C. over the past year. It first appeared in the PRO Act, and when that bill was killed, it reappeared as a provision in the Build Back Better, which is now also all but dead.

The provision in question would, for the first time in history, permit the National Labor Relations Board to impose civil penalties of up to $100,000 per violation on businesses ruled to have committed unfair labor practices. Notably, no penalties would be levied against unions found to have committed an unfair practice.

This provision thoroughly rewrites the National Labor Relations Act, which was always intended as a remedial law, rather than a punitive one. Under this provision, the NLRA will be used by organized labor to impose “unionization by blackmail” against small employers who lack the resources to overcome mounting threats of frivolous complaints.

Another idea, pushed in the PRO Act, would damage the growing “gig” economy, by denying people the right to work as contractors in certain businesses. That, too, is a bad idea.

I support Alaska’s unions, and those businesses and employees who choose not to unionize. But I don’t think we should put our thumb on the scale and deny choices to Alaska’s businesses and workers as these proposed laws would.

Senate leadership is promising to introduce another version of the Build Back Better bill or a different reconciliation bill altogether this year. I am sure our delegation in Washington, D.C. will get great pressure to join. I hope they will work to ensure these freedom- and job-killing ideas never see the light of day again.

Mead Treadwell is the former lieutenant governor of Alaska.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Well said Mead. The problem with communists (and unions, or did I just commit a redundancy…) is they kill the goose that lays the golden egg. I enjoy collective bargaining, and I greatly appreciate structured grievance and discipline – but union megalomania and political marxism drive me nuts. Please kill this “Pro Act” idea and restore the free market.

  2. The idea behind the pro act is to even out the scales between employers and employees not t. This idea that it will be a job killer and prevent freedoms is a gross misrepresentation sold to us by the corporate elite. The pro act will apply just enough pressure on Meads “scale” to even out the playing field, not tilt it.
    If we are to have markets generating good outcomes and generating prosperity widely, you should want workers to have power and representation in the labor market. You should want workers and employers meeting on a level playing field and workers to have a way to make sure that they receive as large a share as they can of the fruits of their labor, just as employers have many mechanisms at their disposal to ensure that they capture as much of the fruits of their investment as they can. A strong middle class is what made this country so strong, that is the meaning behind “Make America Great Again” and this act, if passed will put this country back on that heading.

  3. Maybe Mead can fix that Canada trucker vaccine thing? Oh wait, he is building a railroad to replace those jobs

    • No. That railroad project went belly up and its President in Canada will end up in jail. Alaska’s politicians seem to be friends with some big time swindlers. The guy stole lots of investors’ money and hosed a lot of Alaska businesses that did work for him. I know several people that got the shaft and will never see a dime from that boondoggle.

  4. Mead is right, but as bad as this legislation is I would support it IF in trade we could rid Alaska of the public employee unions, including the NEA. Those unions have everyone intimidated. The Republicans you send to Juneau p–s their pants at the sight of a union business agent, and several Democrat legislators are on union payrolls (don’t make me list them). They forced Dunleavy to reverse himself on the budget cuts he ran on. They forced out Tuckerman Babcock and Donna Arduin. But with Biden in the White House unions don’t negotiate, they command. I also believe that a RR linking the AK RR with other North American railroads would be a game-changer for Alaska and at this point is a more realistic dream than a gas pipeline.

    • Depends on which union I suppose. Natural resource development related unions seem to get kicked around. Young voted for this thing.

  5. Here is a question. Would these unfair labor practices also apply to governments? In other words could government employers (taxpayers) also be required to pay these $100,000 fines?

    I ask only because, in my experience, the worst unfair labor practices I’ve ever seen have been by government, not private business..

    But yes, I agree.

    • Federal collective bargaining law does not apply to state and local governments. But don’t worry, if they get it for the private sector, the public sector unions will want to join the shakedown party. I the taxpayers had any idea how many billions of dollars they were shaken down for with phony overtime claims during the Clinton years, there’d be US Department of Labor employees, Democrat politicians, and not a few Republicans, and union reps hanging from lampposts.

  6. Mead is right on point here. Don Young’s support of this bill was a real disappointment. I appreciate all Don has done for us but this gets to the heart of what is wrong with our country and must be pushed back against.

  7. My wife and I have voted for Don 25 times now and always felt it was the right thing to do for Alaska but this time we are not so sure and are sure listening to Nick and watching Don come up short on the wrong side of several issues now days…..

  8. Where is the … Logic, Reason, and Common Sense in any of the product coming out of DC nowadays? This “Pro Act” is nothing short of legalized extortion. We need real political leaders to bring about integrity to the political system, we desperately need it now, and we need it before this powder keg blows!
    It’s quite apparent that our current team, i.e. – Ski, Sully & Yung, fall short of the leadership we deserve.

  9. The unions just want to expand the Democrat shakedown operation. An employee or a union rep makes the naked assertion that the employer “restrained, interfered, or coerced” an employee(s) in the exercise of rights protected by the Labor – Management Relations Act. The NLRB will give you the form to make the charge on; just check the box. Each count is worth $100K, so if the union identifies 10 malcontents, that’s a million bucks on the line.

    The regional NLRB office assigns an “investigator” to the complaint. The investigator is career mid-level merit system employee, supposedly non-political, but none of them are when the Democrats are in power and few of them are even when the Republicans control the Board. Even those who aren’t pro-union ideologues know, as do all government employees in ministerial positions, that if they do something under a Republican administration that the unions don’t like, they’d better have some firm career plans for whenever the communists, excuse me, Democrats take over again because their name is on the hit list; don’t ask me how I know.

    Now the investigator doesn’t really investigate as most would understand investigation as finding the facts. The investigator takes the assertions of the complainant(s) at face value and if the “facts” as asserted would constitute an unfair labor practice, the NLRB finds probable cause and the adjudicatory process ensues through a couple of administrative steps and ultimately to a hearing by the NLRB, though very few cases make it that far. The federal law is preemptory so all resort to the courts is in the federal courts; bring money.

    As soon the probable cause finding is handed down, the union runs to their lackeys in the media. Since the bubble-head at the TV station doesn’t know anything about labor issues, s/he is only too happy to just read the union’s press release which can be summarized as “federal government finds evil employer violated the law by being unfair to the noble union.” It would be almost unheard of for the media to contact the employer for their side of the story.

    Under current law it is a matter of how much justice you can afford because it is expensive to go through the administrative process, very expensive to go to the Board, and cripplingly expensive to go to the federal courts. Through the Sixties, NLRB cases kept the federal courts, including the SC, busy, but they have been very rare in recent years. When Comrade Obama’s NLRB overturned 75 years of established practice and precedent in the case over Boeing’s South Carolina plant, Boeing meekly settled rather than take it to the USSC. I suspect somebody in the White House called the head of Boeing and said something like, “nice company you have there; be a shame if something happened to it.”

    Under the PRO Act with the large fines, the unions can go to the scheme the race hustlers have long used and which public sector unions used in the rash of overtime eligibility claims in the ’80s and ’90s. With the finding of probable cause, the employer is facing millions of dollars in litigation costs as well as potentially millions of dollars in fines. The NLRB will generously offer a consent decree in which the employer may or may not admit wrongdoing, but offers to pay somebody a lot of money and hire some Democrat training outfit to train their managers in how to avoid unfair labor practices. Of course, it is well understood that a substantial amount of the money that goes to the union and the training firm is expected to go to the Democrat Party. Rinse and repeat.

  10. Don Young voted in favor of this.
    ‘https://townhall.com/tipsheet/bethbaumann/2021/03/09/five-republicans-vote-with-democrats-to-pass-the-antifreelancing-bill-known-as-the-pro-act-n2586004

  11. Never thought I’d say it but here goes: I’m with Begich. Don Young lost me with this vote and after talking to him it turns out Nick is actually the conservative business-minded candidate in the race. Welcome to 2022.

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