Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring to the House floor H.R. 2474, which would do just that.
The Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act would force workers to fund unions. Rather than require unions to increase transparency and accountability, Democrats are enabling labor union leaders to exert political influence, harming very workers they purport to protect.
There isn’t a single person in this country who is in favor of unsafe working conditions, inadequate compensation for competent work, or a toxic work environment. While the PRO Act claims to be in favor of combating these issues, it would instead make it more difficult for employers and businesses to invest in American workers.
The American Action Forum predicted in a recent report that employers will face nearly $50 billion in new annual costs from the implementation of the PRO Act, which will only shrink the number of employees they can hire. We need to ensure that the people this proposal claims to defend are not harmed by the adverse consequences of these ideas.
By creating new obstacles for companies to hire independent contractors, this bill would suffocate the gig economy, to which people are increasingly turning for the freedom, flexibility, and adaptable income that it offers. Many of these hardworking individuals prefer the liberty of freelance contracting over the less flexible opportunities available through traditional full-time employment. They would lose opportunities under this prohibitive legislation.
The PRO Act also mandates that employers collect and report workers’ private, personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers, to union organizers — without the workers’ consent. Giving union bosses more power without measures of accountability also facilitates corruption that is already flagrant in several industries — corruption that in some cases includes the direction of union workers’ dues toward lavish personal spending of senior-ranking union officials.
The PRO Act would force more workers into a one-size-fits-all union contract — to make them sacrifice a chunk of their paychecks involuntarily as an automatic condition of employment. Workers would have to pay an additional aggregate of millions of dollars out of their hard-earned paychecks even if they do not want to be represented by a union. It inherently infringes upon the rights and paychecks of workers. A worker’s access to work and the ability to support their families should not be dependent on contributions to an entity that may not have their best interests in mind.
Twenty-seven states, including my home state of Arkansas, have right-to-work laws that guarantee that workers cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. In accordance with the values our country was founded upon, I believe that citizens deserve the freedom of choice in matters affecting their livelihoods. Right-to-work protections also guarantee that, if a worker opts out of paying union fees, he or she will not be excluded from the basic protections deserved by all workers in the workplace.
The PRO Act would overturn right-to-work laws in all of those states, infringing on state powers and the individual liberties of American workers to choose the best opportunities for themselves and their families. Official statistics from the Department of Labor show that right-to-work states have greater economic vitality because of their lower unemployment rates and fewer work stoppages. Right-to-work is a demonstrated better economic model for states.
The PRO Act ironically steals freedom of choice from the workers of America. For Arkansans and others, the PRO Act violates liberties intended to be protected by the Founding Fathers. The imprudent PRO Act will chip away at workers’ rights and employer opportunities; it would harm the economy while rewarding labor union bosses. Protection of America’s workers and their right to work are crucial to the economic success and prosperity of our beloved country.
U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican, represents Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District.
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