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STATEMENT: PRO ACT WILL FORCE BUSINESSES TO CLOSE & EMPLOYEES OUT OF WORK ACROSS THE U.S.

Legislation Would Diminish Employees’ Rights & Threaten Job Creation Nationwide

 

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 the pending introduction of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in Congress this week.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“In an attempt to increase union membership at any cost, the bill would make radical changes to well-established law, diminish employees’ rights to privacy and association, destroy businesses, particularly small ones, and threaten entire industries that have fueled innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.”

“With this legislation, Congressional Democrats are attempting to implement Obama-era labor law policies that were rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them.”

“At a time when thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and employees retained during the COVID pandemic, this bill would force businesses to close permanently and cost workers their livelihoods. Bottomline, hundreds of thousands of Americans could lose their job and important employee rights if this bill is enacted.”

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

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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.

CDW Calls on NLRB to Weigh in on Mail-Ballot Elections

Washington, D.C. – On February 3, CDW submitted an amicus brief to the NLRB in support of Amazon’s Request for Review of a Regional Director’s decision dealing with a representation election at an Amazon facility in Alabama.

In our brief, CDW called on the Board to review the case in order to clarify when mail-ballot elections will be required during the COVID-19 pandemic, including defining what qualifies as a COVID-19 “outbreak” in a workplace, and cautioned the Board against its increased tolerance of remote voting methods that have shown to substantially reduce voter participation.

Chair Kristen Swearingen explained, “The Board needs to clarify when mail balloting is appropriate and address mail-ballot voter participation issues before rushing into an election with thousands of workers. The Board should also examine the current method of electronic card collection and whether it is opening the door to fraud and violations of employees’ privacy. NLRB precedent rightfully favors in-person elections, and the Board should continue to use that option to ensure a true majority of eligible employees want and choose union representation.”

CDW Statement on Dangerous Electronic Voting Legislation

Washington, D.C. – The new Congress is considering legislation that would take union representation elections online. This legislation is not meant to “modernize” the election process, as the bill’s supporters claim. It will, however:

  • allow union organizers to bypass secret ballot elections and coerce workers into supporting unionization;
  • have a negative impact on participation rates in union elections, since electronic voting routinely results in lower participation rates among workers, as compared to in-person voting; and
  • increase fraud and potential identify theft due to the inability to authenticate who potential voters are and lack of cybersecurity protocols.
CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen cautioned, “This dangerous legislation needlessly exposes workers to intimidation. It gives union organizers the ability to stand over the shoulders of workers while they vote on whether or not to support unionization, pressuring them to vote in favor of union representation. Under this misguided bill workers will face increased intimidation and threats to their privacy as well as a stronger likelihood that they will not participate in such a critical decision like union representation. Congress should emphatically reject this bill.”

CDW Files Amicus Brief on NLRB’s Contract Bar Doctrine

Washington, D.C. – On October 8, CDW filed an amicus brief with the NLRB in Mountaire Farms, Inc, a case examining the Board’s contract bar doctrine.

In our brief we explain that the Board’s contract bar doctrine is no longer necessary to establish and maintain stability in labor relations and in actuality impairs employee freedom of choice in a manner that conflicts with the National Labor Relations Act. CDW encourages the Board to rescind the current doctrine or modify it to shorten the bar period and lengthen the time during which employees can challenge a union’s majority status before, during, and/or after collective bargaining for a new agreement.

CDW Files Comments on NLRB Election Privacy Proposal

Washington, D.C. – On September 28, CDW filed comments in support of the NLRB’s election privacy proposed rule. As our comments explain, the coalition supports the Board’s decision to rescind provisions of its 2014 rule requiring disclosure of employee addresses and phone numbers – provisions that threatened to infringe on employees’ privacy rights and needlessly exposed them to coercion and intimidation. Additionally, CDW’s comments support the Board’s proposal to allow employees engaged in military service to vote via absentee ballots but suggests necessary alterations to provide protections for employers.

CDW Statement on NLRB’s General Motors Decision

Washington, D.C. – On July 21, the National Labor Relations Board issued its decision in General Motors, a case dealing with the use of profanity in the workplace. The decision reinstates a previous Board standard used to determine if employees were lawfully disciplined or discharged for abusive or offensive statements in the course of activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

CDW applauds the NLRB’s decision. CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen explained, “General Motors is a welcome return to civility in the workplace and labor-management relations. For too long, the Board tolerated language that was at best inappropriate and at worst violent, abusive, and discriminatory. In today’s workplace, no one should have a free pass to create an unsafe or intolerant environment, and our labor laws must protect all workers from such behavior.”

CDW Statement on Republican Opposition to Electronic Union Election Voting

Washington, D.C. – On June 30, Republican leaders on the House Education and Labor Committee, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Tim Walberg (R-MI), sent a letter to the Chairman and General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board opposing efforts by Democrats to force the Board to hold union elections electronically.

CDW applauds Reps. Foxx and Walberg for their efforts to stop Democrats’ assault on workers’ free choice and right to privacy. As the letter clarifies, “Electronic voting would create one more opportunity for union organizers to intimidate and coerce workers at their homes, in public, and elsewhere, and provide another conduit for workers’ personal information to be compromised.”

In-person voting remains the fairest, safest, and most effective means on holding union representation elections. CDW strongly encourages the NLRB to heed the representatives’ warning and continue to protect workers’ rights.

CDW Statement on NLRB’s Joint Employer Final Rule

Washington, DC – On February 25, the NLRB issued its Final Rule on the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act. The Final Rule reinstates the traditional joint-employer standard while further clarifying the standard by providing valuable definitions for key terms.

CDW applauds the Board for finding a comprehensive solution to this complex issue. This Final Rule ensures employers have the stability and predictability necessary to run their businesses, continue to expand, and create more jobs. This bright line rule provides employers and employees alike with clear understanding of how the joint-employer standard will be implemented and interpreted. It successfully ensures employers are held accountable to their employees while protecting them from wrongful liability.

ICYMI: “Pelosi’s ‘PRO Act’ Puts Special Interests Over S.C. Workers & Economy”

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote in coming weeks on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, an op-ed by South Carolina business leader Pat McKinney, published by The Post and Courier (Charleston), explains that “Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to bring [the] legislation to a vote in the U.S. House in coming weeks … would put the interests of powerful labor bosses ahead of the rights of hardworking American workers. And it would be detrimental to the Lowcountry.”  He continues:

The bill is called the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and while its supporters claim it would simply make it easier for employees to unionize, its details reveal that it is a power grab by big labor interests — one that would strip away workers’ privacy rights in order to subject them to heavy-handed organizing tactics. 

What Speaker Pelosi and union bosses want is to force employers to turn over their employees’ private information to unions without worker consent, providing employee cellphone numbers, home addresses and other sensitive information to union organizers who could then use it to pressure those workers to agree to a union organizer’s demands.

Not only could employees face union bosses’ harassment at their workplaces but also at their homes and elsewhere as they simply try to go about their lives, and they would also lose their free choice when it comes to labor elections.  To add insult to injury, the PRO Act would crush millions of Americans taking their own initiative by placing devastating limitations on an individual’s ability to work as an independent contractor.

This bill would disproportionately impact the Lowcountry where we have grown our manufacturing base over the past decade, thanks to the leadership of Gov. Nikki Haley.

While it’s no surprise that Speaker Pelosi and other Washington liberals would push this ill-conceived proposal, I sincerely hope that our 1st District congressman, Joe Cunningham, will strongly oppose this bill.

Recent polling shows that a strong majority of South Carolinians agrees that the PRO Act is too radical.  Statewide and in the 1st Congressional District, more than 60 percent of voters oppose the PRO Act when they learn what it is, while more than twice as many say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supports the legislation than say they’d be more likely to vote for that candidate.

When Speaker Pelosi brings this legislation up for a vote, [C]ongressman Cunningham has an opportunity to protect our jobs and stop big labor from interfering in South Carolina’s economy.  We don’t need Speaker Pelosi telling business leaders how to create jobs.

The op-ed comes on the heels of a new study  by the American Action Forum (AAF), which reveals that the PRO Act “would fundamentally change U.S. labor law and impose significant costs on our economy.

Additionally, recent polling undertaken by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace finds 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.”

 

CDW Video Slams PRO Act

On January 21, CDW released an explanatory video on the radical Protecting the Right to Organize Act, substantial public opposition to the bill, and its disastrous economic costs. Polling proves voters across the country know this bill is radical, boosts unions at the expense of workers and small business owners, and will have devastating consequences for the economy at large. Politicians in Washington should be warned; voters opposed the PRO Act, and you should too.