July 1, 2021
Independent Women’s Voice, which fights to enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being, strongly opposes the House-passed Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (HR 842) which is not only anti-worker, but also anti-woman.
The PRO Act has over 20 provisions that would tip the scales in favor of unions at the expense of workers. For example, the PRO Act mandates that workers in unionized professions pay union dues even if they aren’t members and would effectively undo Right-to-Work laws protecting workers in 27 states from being fired if they choose not to join a union. It would also require employers to disclose workers’ private information, such as home addresses, phone numbers, personal emails, to union organizers which could open workers up to harassment.
Another provision would require that independent contractors be reclassified as traditional employees, threatening flexible work nationwide. Women in the U.S. today enjoy unprecedented work opportunities even despite gains lost because of the pandemic. This includes flexible work arrangements that allow them to control their own schedules and balance their desire to work with caring for family members. The pandemic forced at least 2 million women out of the labor force. However, many more women might still be without employment if not for freelance or gig work that allows them to earn while balancing caregiving duties and overseeing their children’s virtual educations. The PRO Act would destroy these opportunities just as a similar provision, AB5, has done in California, and push workers back into an antiquated, union-dictated 9-to-5 work world.
AB5 took effect in California on January 1, 2020 and sets strict limitations on independent contractor work. Thousands of contract jobs have been eliminated throughout the state, leaving many workers–particularly women, low-income, and disabled workers–struggling to make ends meet.
A 9-to-5 schedule no longer fits how millions of Americans prefer to work. For many women, who often value flexibility even more than men do, AB5 and the PRO Act force a binary choice between working and not working, potentially pushing many women out of the labor force altogether. This is a harmful policy that would take our economy a giant step backward.
America was founded on freedom. We should all be free to pursue work and our own vision of happiness. The PRO Act threatens these core principles. We urge all House members to reject the PRO Act when it comes to the floor for a vote.
Hadley Heath Manning
Director of Policy
Independent Women’s Voice