Virginia Senator Cites Negative Impact On Gig Economy, Freelancers And Independent Contractors


Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of hundreds of organizations representing millions of businesses that employ tens of millions of workers nationwide in nearly every industry, released the following statement today in response to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) announcing his concerns with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act during a press availability.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“While Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) should be applauded for articulating that provisions of the PRO Act that would force American workers into an outdated ‘1980s type of economy’ putting independent contractors out of work, we urge him to dig deeper into the rest of the PRO Act, particularly those provisions that would devastate small businesses, strip away workers’ privacy rights and force them into labor agreements that eliminate Virginia’s right-to-work protections.

“The PRO Act would be particularly devastating to the 98 percent of non-union small business contractors that participate in Virginia’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small, Women- and Minority-owned (SWaM) business program by reducing opportunities for these struggling companies and putting many of them out of business and their employees out of work.

“The PRO Act aims to boost the number of dues paying union members, padding the coffers of labor bosses at the expense of workers, small and local businesses, entrepreneurs and Main Street consumers. By removing right-to-work protections for millions of American workers – including hundreds of thousands of workers in the Commonwealth – the bill would strip away their right to forgo joining a union. American workers and small business owners would be forced to hand over their hard-earned paychecks to labor bosses.

“The PRO Act would also force employers in Virginia to hand over personal contact information of employees to labor organizers, even if workers did not want to join a union. With unfettered access to employees, labor organizers would have the ability to harass and bully workers into joining a union. They could show up at their home, spam them on email and even bully them on social media. The PRO Act is incredibly short-sighted, especially given growing concerns regarding privacy in this country.

“The 22,300 franchise owners in the Old Dominion would be devastated by the PRO Act and turn them into middle managers, hindering their ability to make a living and killing the dreams of budding entrepreneurs of owning their own businesses.

“At a time when Virginian businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and employees retained during the COVID-19 pandemic, this bill would force businesses to close permanently and lay off workers. Bottomline, thousands of Virginians could lose their jobs and important employee rights if the PRO Act becomes law.”

Click here for more information on the negative impacts of the PRO Act.




About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.