STUDY: PRO Act Would Slam Economy With ‘Significant Costs’

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote in coming weeks on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a new study released today by the American Action Forum (AAF) reveals that the legislation “would fundamentally change U.S. labor law and impose significant costs on our economy.”

“While the stated intent behind the PRO Act is to increase worker protections, many of the bill’s provisions are contrary to worker interests and ignore worker preferences,” the study’s authors warn.  “Furthermore, the PRO Act has the potential to harm employers and our economy across industries, delivering high costs that small businesses, including franchisees and entrepreneurs, may not be able to absorb.”

The study finds that, among other consequences, the PRO Act would:

  • Significantly change the classification criteria for independent contractors (ICs) to make it harder to qualify as an IC, despite the fact that fewer than one in 10 ICs want to be reclassified, and such a provision potentially implicates 8.5 percent of gross domestic product and puts an additional $3.6 billion to $12.1 billion of annual upward cost pressure on employers;
  • Expand the number of business arrangements subject to joint-employer liability, which would affect 44 percent of private sector employees, lead to $17.2 billion to $33.3 billion in lost annual output for the franchise business sector, and complicate many business-to-business contracts and arrangements, causing particular harm to small businesses;
  • Repeal all right-to-work laws, stripping millions of employees of the right to refrain from joining a union, hindering private sector output, employment growth and business migration; and
  • Restrict employers from permanently replacing strikers, resulting in more than $1.9 billion in total additional annual upward cost pressure.

“This new study is the latest evidence that the PRO Act would harm workers, small businesses and our nation’s economy,” Kristen Swearingen, Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) Chair, said.  “From stripping workers’ privacy and sharing their sensitive personal data with union bosses, to limiting individuals’ right to work as independent contractors, to taking away workers’ free choice in union elections and undermining economic growth, the PRO Act puts big labor’s interests ahead of hardworking Americans and small businesses throughout our country.”

The findings from AAF follow recent polling undertaken by CDW, which found that voters have significant concerns about the PRO Act’s consequences.  The poll of 500 South Carolina voters “shows Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) will lose support in his district if he votes yes,” POLITICO reported, adding: “‘Though currently popular with his voters, Joe Cunningham can alienate voters by supporting an unpopular labor bill,’ said a polling memo prepared by GS Strategy Group.”


  • To read AAF’s full report, CLICK HERE.
  • To view the polling memo, CLICK HERE.
  • To learn more about the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), CLICK HERE.