House Passes Massive Pro Labor Legislation

February 13, 2020

On February 6th the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, one of the largest handouts to organized labor since the 1935 Wagner Act and a blatant attempt to curry electoral favor in the 2020 elections from national unions.

The legislation would:

  • Dramatically change the way labor unions conduct organizing drives replacing it with a zombie reiteration of “card check;”
  • Mandate that employers provide the contact information for all employees without prior approval from the employees themselves;
  • Make it harder for businesses to secure legal advice on complex labor law matters by codifying many requirements of the Obama administrations “persuader” regulation, which was struck down by the courts when it was found to be “defective to its core;”
  • Eliminate Right-to-Work protections nationwide, including in the 27 states that have already passed Right-to-Work laws;
  • Authorize unions to engage in recognitional picketing indefinitely;
  • Allow unions to engage in so-called “secondary boycotts,” exposing all consumers, employers, supplies, vendors, franchisors, franchisees, and all other businesses to picketing, boycotts, and similar tactics, regardless of whether they have any dispute with the union;
  • Prohibit arbitration agreements in employment contracts; and
  • Codify the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial Browning-Ferris Industries joint-employer standard making businesses jointly liable for labor violations committed by companies which share indirect or even unexercised potential control over the terms and conditions of employment.

The PRO Act passed the House by an almost party line vote. NAW worked tirelessly to stem support for this bill, meeting with hundreds of Congressional offices to share the harmful effects this radical legislation would have on the wholesale distribution industry. Through the aggressive efforts of NAW and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which NAW helps manage, there was significant bipartisan opposition to this “Quid Pro Quo” Act. This is a noteworthy achievement considering that organized labor vocally stated that support for this bill is the only way to gain financial support from unions in the upcoming elections.

In fact, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, held a press conference on the eve of the vote and loudly stated, “Those who would oppose, delay or derail this legislation, do not ask us – do not ask the labor movement – for a dollar or a door knock. We won’t be coming.” If this open and enthusiastic quid pro quo isn’t chilling enough, the only thing keeping this bill from passing is the current pro-business majority in the United States Senate. Should Democrats regain control of the Senate and the White House in the 2020 elections, this legislation will become the baseline for any future labor bills.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board aptly called the legislation “big labor’s payoff” and stated it would “gut the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act in the most sweeping pro-union legislation since the 1935 Wagner Act.” Click here to read the full editorial.

Click here for a picture of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace advertising efforts on Capitol Hill the day of the House of Representatives vote.