Democrats’ Pro-Union ‘PRO Act’ Is A Threat To Jobs And The Free Market


Not enough attention is being paid to one section of the Democrats’ pro-union ‘PRO Act’ that poses the greatest threat to jobs and the free market: Putting government bureaucrats in charge of setting wages and benefits.

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 842, the so-called “Protecting the Right to Organize,” or “PRO” Act earlier this week, there has been much media coverage—both pro and con—explaining how the bill makes it easier for unions to unionize workers.

Although, currently, the bill has little chance of getting through an evenly divided Senate, unions are ramping up pressure to end the Senate filibuster.

While there are many noxious individual items within the PRO Act that the bill does to boost unions while hurting individual workers and their employers, much of it pales in comparison to the one section that poses the greatest threat to jobs and the free market.

That is the section of the bill that puts government-appointed arbitrators at the controls of what an employer pays its employees.

As written, the PRO Act states that, once an employer is newly unionized, the employer and the union must negotiate for a period of 90 days.

If no agreement is reached within 90 days, the employer and union can be required to mediate for 30 days and, if no agreement is reached at that point, the PRO Act states that a panel of government arbitrators will bind the parties into a contract for a period of two years.

In so doing, the arbitration panel would base its mandated contract on a variety of factors, including: a) the employer’s size and financial status (indicating that an employer may be required to ‘open its books’), b) the employees’ cost of living, c) “the employees’ ability to sustain themselves, their families, and their dependents on the wages and benefits they earn from the employer,” and d) “the wages and benefits other employers in the same business.”

A move toward industry-wide bargaining?

Though unclear, the latter statement about “other employers” seems to indicate that the government arbitrators may push newly-unionized employers into contracts that are similar to already-unionized employers’ contracts, which could completely alter a successful enterprise’s business model.

Here is the section pertaining to collective bargaining in full:

“Whenever collective bargaining is for the purpose of establishing an initial collective bargaining agreement following certification or recognition of a labor organization, the following shall apply:

“(A) Not later than 10 days after receiving a written request for collective bargaining from an individual or labor organization that has been newly recognized or certified as a representative as defined in section 9(a), or within such further period as the parties agree upon, the parties shall meet and commence to bargain collectively and shall make every reasonable effort to conclude and sign a collective bargaining agreement.

“(B) If after the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which bargaining is commenced, or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the parties have failed to reach an agreement, either party may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute and request mediation. Whenever such a request is received, it shall be the duty of the Service promptly to put itself in communication with the parties and to use its best efforts, by mediation and conciliation, to bring them to agreement.

“(C) If after the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the request for mediation is made under subparagraph (B), or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the Service is not able to bring the parties to agreement by conciliation, the Service shall refer the dispute to a tripartite arbitration panel established in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Service, with one member selected by the labor organization, one member selected by the employer, and one neutral member mutually agreed to by the parties. The labor organization and employer must each select the members of the tripartite arbitration panel within 14 days of the Service’s referral; if the labor organization or employer fail to do so, the Service shall designate any members not selected by the labor organization or the employer. A majority of the tripartite arbitration panel shall render a decision settling the dispute and such decision shall be binding upon the parties for a period of 2 years, unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties. Such decision shall be based on—

“(i) the employer’s financial status and prospects;

“(ii) the size and type of the employer’s operations and business;

“(iii) the employees’ cost of living;

“(iv) the employees’ ability to sustain themselves, their families, and their dependents on the wages and benefits they earn from the employer; and

“(v) the wages and benefits other employers in the same business provide their employees.” [Emphasis added.]

A huge shift in the role of government.

By having the government intervene in the relationship between unions and employers is a total ‘about-face’ to the role of government in private-sector labor relations.

While the government has, since the 1930s, mandated that their is an obligation or ‘duty to bargain,’ it has never been the role of the United States government to force the parties to agree.

A loss of rights for workers.

To make matters worse for workers, if a government panel mandates a union contract on them (and their employer), workers will have also lost their right to accept or reject the contract and, as well, lost their right to strike.

And, of course, since the PRO Act also eliminates state Right-to-Work laws, all unionized workers—regardless whether they supported unionization or not—will be required to pay union fees as a condition of employment…or be fired.


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