Democrats can’t get the PRO bill passed, so it’s buried in the Reconciliation Act
Union membership was decreasing for decades, as workers find better use for their hard-earned money than union dues.
But union bosses and their supporters are trying to change the law to force hardworking Americans into unions. As? By the Protection of the right to freedom of association (PRO Act), a bill that would extend the power of union leaders at the expense of workers. After traversing the House of Representatives, the PRO bill now appears to have stalled in the Senate, and Democrats are trying to get some provisions of the PRO bill into a massive reconciliation bill.
American workers are wise to refuse union membership. The unions’ pension plans are in trouble. In 2020, the Ministry of Labor listed 121 union plans in critical status, defined as less than 65 percent funded, and 61 in vulnerable status, with less than 80 percent funded. Unions desperately need new workers to join because they have paid dues for many years without withdrawing money.
Most recently, Amazon workers in Alabama firmly opposed efforts by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store International Unions to organize their work. More than 70 percent of the workers voted against the union. The union’s plan was in critical status between 2015 and 2019, and the The Ministry of Labor informed the plan administrators that it had to be reorganized by reducing benefits and increasing contributions.
Union leaders and their allies on Capitol Hill believe that the way to increase membership after decades of decline is to pass elements of the PRO Act through reconciliation.
In contrast to the PRO Act, which required 60 votes in the Senate to enter the President BidenJoe BidenBiden recalls General Odierno: “Part of some of our most poignant memories” Building better by investing in workers and communities Internal struggles are heating up MORE over Biden’s agendaThe draft reconciliation, which deals with taxes and expenses, only needs a simple majority on the desk to be signed. So with a massive reconciliation bill, the Democrats in Congress are trying to postpone some of the union provisions of the PRO bill by arguing that they are actually generating revenue.
Proposed penalties under the PRO Act include fines for employers who hold works meetings to discuss unionization and the introduction of new fines of $ 50,000 per company for unfair labor practices. Such fines could put small firms out of business or prevent them from questioning organizing.
Tax provisions are also included in the reconciliation. One suggestion is a deduction of union dues of up to $ 250 per year. Such a deduction shifts the burden of union funding to the taxpayer. Another is a $ 4,500 tax credit on the purchase of a union-made car, such as a Ford, GM, or Stellantis (the new Chrysler) car. This puts non-union automakers like Tesla, Toyota and Honda at a disadvantage.
As if Congress wasn’t making the choice of winners and losers dangerous enough, the PRO Act would go further than the harmful provisions on reconciliation. For example, it seeks to deprive workers of the right to secret ballot in union representation elections by allowing employers, colleagues and union officials to vote, in order to facilitate intimidation and corruption.
Equally detrimental would be that the PRO Act required binding arbitration for contracts between employees and employers if the union and employer fail to reach an agreement on wages and benefits. These mandatory conditions are unprecedented in American labor law and defeat the basic principle of collective bargaining – that employers and unions are free to object unless they voluntarily accept arbitration.
Another provision in the PRO Act would abolish the right to work laws passed in 27 states. These laws protect workers by stipulating that employers cannot compel workers to join a union as a condition of employment. Many countries with the right to work have lower unemployment rates and higher economic growth rates than other countries.
In our highly competitive economy with 11 million vacancies, unions seem like a relic of the past. Today’s workers have many options and should not be forced by the PRO Act or the Reconciliation Act to pay union dues and fund failing union pension plans.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former Assistant Secretary of Economic Policy at the US Treasury Department, is an associate professor of economics at George Washington University.