Post written by Grafton deButts, VP of Membership & Government Affairs
One of the greatest threats to America’s economic recovery and future growth is currently being debated in Congress. The PRO Act, a bill which seeks to undermine workers’ rights to privacy and free association, would create a one-size-fits-all rewrite of labor laws in 50 states, hurting workers across the United States, including here in Loudoun County.
First, the PRO Act would eliminate Right-To-Work laws in all states, ending the sacred protection of a worker’s freedom to choose to join a union or not. Repealing Right-To-Work would force employees to either pay union dues or be fired, whether they wish to be represented by the union or not.
The PRO Act would undermine the will of Virginia’s electorate, who have elected Republican and Democratic majorities to the General Assembly in Richmond, majorities that have consistently protected Virginia’s Right-To-Work laws by wide margins. Virginia is currently one of 27 that kept their Right-To-Work status for their citizens and workforce.
Secondly, if passed, the PRO Act would eliminate an employee’s fundamental privacy rights when voting in favor or against joining a union. Union leaders continually seek to bring intimidation and coercion to the workplace by singling out employees that oppose union membership. Protection from voting intimidation and a right of privacy are cornerstones to fair democratic elections in our Nation. Shouldn’t the same rights be present in the workplace?
Lastly, The PRO Act unfairly targets independent workers in the “gig” economy. Per surveys by Small Business Labs and Gallup, more that third of all working age adults, or roughly 59 million citizens, are independent contractors or “gig” employees. These Americans would lose the right to independence and flexible scheduling, and the work-life balance that goes with it. Employers would be forced to take on overhead and other expenses go up, limiting the resources they have for employees’ salaries and force cost increases on customers.
In Loudoun County, where average home sales and rental rate exceeds what the average household can afford, secondary jobs such as driving for Uber or picking up occasional jobs on Task Rabbit are critical. In addition, many talented professionals prefer to work from home as independent contractors in numerous industries, providing them the flexibility to care for their children or other family members.
Any law which would limit secondary job opportunities while increasing the costs of goods and services to the customer is a “lose-lose” for our community and our workers.
The Loudoun Chamber will continue to urge our nation’s lawmakers, particularly US Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to oppose the PRO Act and protect our economy as we seek to recover from the lost jobs and income as a result of the pandemic.
– Grafton deButts, Vice President of Membership & Government Affairs, Loudoun Chamber