Democrats’ PRO Act Would Wipe Out Many Independent Contractor Jobs

    The Biden/Schumer/Pelosi Gang is pushing hard to enact something called The Protecting the Right to Organize Act. It is a prodigious piece of special-interest legislation for Big Labor.

    If you believe the rhetoric, the PRO Act is designed to help workers. The truth of the matter is that it is designed to help the Democratic Party, by maximizing the number of Americans who have to pay union dues in order to keep a job. The more money the unions have, the more they can spend to keep the Democrats in power.

    One of the ugly aspects of PRO is that it would wipe out jobs for lots of independent contractors — independence being something that neither Big Labor nor Democrats care for. Writing in The Week, freelance writer Bonnie Kristian explains that if enacted, the bill would kill her job.

    She would have lots of company, but if the unions can dragoon in a few more dues payers, so what?

    The very name of the bill is misleading (as they usually are). There has never been any need to “protect” the right of workers to form or join unions. People have always been free to do that. What Big Labor and the Dems want is to make it easier for unions to win organizing campaigns where the result is that all workers, even those who oppose the union, must accept it as their exclusive bargaining representative and pay the compulsory dues. That is what the bill would make easier by various measures, including enhanced restrictions on employer speech during such campaigns. First Amendment — what’s that?

    At the root of our labor-law problem is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), passed in 1935 as a sop to Big Labor for helping put FDR in power. It federalized what had always been regarded as a state matter and did so in a way that stacked the deck in favor of unions, including the exclusive-representation provision. Right to Work statutes at least give workers an escape hatch by saying that those who don’t pay their dues can’t be fired. PRO would also wipe out those laws.

    The NLRA would almost undoubtedly have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it exceeded the powers of Congress (as the Court had ruled on other New Deal laws), if it hadn’t been for Roosevelt’s Court-packing threat after his re-election in 1936. When the Court got back to business in the spring of 1937, Chief Justice Hughes went wobbly and sided with the “progressives” to uphold the NLRA.

    A chief justice going wobbly — history is repeating itself.

    The PRO Act is a vicious attack on a host of freedoms that Americans used to take for granted — association, speech, privacy — all because the Democrats want to top up union coffers. This bill needs to be defeated.


    George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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