By Dave Trabert for RealClearPolicy
President Joe Biden promised to not increase taxes on the middle-class, but his gift to organized labor, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), has the same impact as a tax increase on millions of Americans.
The PRO Act does not protect anyone’s right to organize; those rights already exist. Quite the opposite, it strips employees of their right to not associate with a union and forces them to annually pay hundreds of dollars to unions against their will.
Currently, people living in Right to Work states and working for a unionized private-sector company are not required to join the union or pay dues.
But Biden and House and Senate Democrats want to strip private-sector Americans of their right to choose and compel expensive union membership in companies that are unionized. (Public-sector employees would still enjoy right-to-work protections due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case.)
The rationale behind the PRO Act is simple. OpenSecrets.org says unions poured $27.6 million into Biden’s campaign, and he wants to repay them by forcing millions of Americans to pay them dues or agency fees.
Forced union payments is the most obvious cost the PRO Act will have on the middle-class, but job loss could be an even greater cost.
There were 22 Right to Work States in 1998 and five more have been added since then — Kentucky (2017), Michigan (2012), Oklahoma (2001), West Virginia (2016), and Wisconsin (2015).
Between 1998 and 2019, private-sector jobs increased by 28.2% in the 22 original Right to Work states, but only 16.2% in the other 28 states.
To put that in perspective, there would have been 7.7 million more jobs in those 28 states in 2019 if employment had increased as much as in the Right to Work states.
Our colleagues at State Policy Network list 12 ways that the PRO Act will hurt American workers and businesses, including these examples.
The PRO Act would also harm workers’ privacy by giving unions access to their personal information in an electronic, searchable format.
During an organizing election, unions would have access to employees’ personal cell phone numbers and home and email addresses. Employees would not be able to prevent the company from distributing this information.
The PRO Act recently picked up an important supporter in Senator Joe Manchin, (D-West Virginia). In a speech at the National Press Club, Manchin proudly threw middle-class Americans under the bus.
“Fifty percent of unions fail in their first year of organizing. This legislation will level the playing field,” he said.
Never mind that many of his constituents will lose their right to choose, have to pay hundreds of dollars in union dues against their will, and maybe lose their job.
Like state legislators who say they support education but prioritize school unions over students, Manchin is siding with unions over workers.
Biden’s PRO Act is bad for American workers and employers, and Congress should dump it in the trash.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
Dave Trabert is the CEO of the Kansas Policy Institute.
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