The PRO Act is Back…Senate will decide its fate

The Grawe Gazette – General Counsel

The PRO Act is Back
By Doug Grawe, The Grawe Group, LLC, March 2021

Today the U.S. House passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). Like most legislation the spirit of some of it may be admirable. It is safe to say though it is a bad bill for businesses across industries. It would enact a wish list of provisions organized labor has wanted for years. Passage out of the House is a significant step of course, but whether the bill has any real life depends on the Senate. As you might imagine support and opposition to the bill is largely along party lines.

Some Noteworthy Items
I will not bore you with the whole list, but a couple of PRO Act implications are worth noting:

Union elections. The bill would make it easier for workers to unionize. The bill would effectively prevent employers from being a part of the election process in most meaningful ways, and it would expand union rights to employee information and union rights to picket at vendors and customers.

Joint employment. The bill would significantly expand who is considered a joint employer of a worker. Laws today give government agencies ample ammunition to go after any employer that violates labor laws. There are long-standing rules, there are dramatic financial penalties, and there are even criminal penalties on the books today for violators. By expanding joint employer liability, the law could encourage large companies to get larger, taking more work in house or utilizing only large subcontractors instead of utilizing smaller businesses as subcontractors.

Independent contractors. The bill adopts the ABC test, which would effectively eliminate independent contractors in many industries, cutting off the entrepreneurial opportunities of over hundreds of thousands of independent contractors in the U.S. today. California has an ABC test today. California recognized how many independent contractors would lose their businesses and their livelihoods under the ABC test and passed a litany of exceptions for many industries such as realtors, lawyers, doctors, writers, and more. The PRO Act has no such exceptions.

A similar act passed the House last year, only to stall out in the Senate. Assuming the filibuster requiring 60 votes to pass the legislation remains in place this year’s PRO Act will likely see the same fate, but it remains worth monitoring.

The Grawe Group, LLC is a team of experienced executives helping trucking, and logistics businesses solve problems, hit goals, and build sustainable success. From legal and risk management matters, to operational, financial, and executive challenges, the Grawe Group has the consulting, management, and legal expertise in trucking and logistics to help you build sustainable success.