The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is like a horror movie where the bad guy doesn't get stopped at the end. It just gets worse and worse and worse.
It sets out to radically transform labor relations as we know them by ushering in the most anti-business and anti-worker changes to labor law in our lifetimes. Right-to-work laws in 27 states, including Oklahoma, would be overturned.
That's right - a law enacted by a vote of the people reversed by a heavy-handed federal mandate. Frighteningly, it has passed one house of Congress, has 45 co-sponsors in the Democrat-controlled Senate and is supported by President Biden.
The act takes away the rights of individual workers, handing them over to unions. Apparently, the backers of this law think people are incapable of making their own decisions, because workers could be fired if they refuse to pay union dues and would no longer have the right to challenge whether a union controls their workplace.
It doesn't stop there (told you it got worse). Secret ballot elections would be eliminated - forcing workers to make their choice about unionizing in public, exposing them to threats and coercion.
Worse, it would impose California's stringent definition of "independent contractor" on the whole country, denying individuals the ability to work independently, threatening the emerging gig economy and taking away the flexibility that has allowed American businesses of all sizes to grow.
What's more, the PRO Act would authorize secondary boycotts, which are now illegal, allowing unions to launch disruptive protests and pickets against any employer, even those having nothing to do with the labor dispute.
It would even impose liability on businesses for workplaces they don't control through an expansive "joint employer" standard. A business could be sued not for how it treats its own employees but how companies it does business with. I didn't think we did guilt by association in America.
The PRO Act is a double-barreled assault on businesses, workers and the economy. Oklahoma's delegation has committed to stand up for employers and workers but can't fight this alone. If you have connections in other states, reach out. Senators need to hear this economy-wrecker must be stopped before it has a chance to do its damage.
Ben Lepak is the executive director of the State Chamber Research Foundation.
Note: This article was first published in The Journal Record on April 30, 2021.