The PRO Act Is Set to Enhance Workers’ Right to Organize
October 8, 2021
In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. While the bill is still moving through the Senate, once passed, it could be a potential gamechanger for employees and labor unions alike.
In a nutshell, the proposed legislation will:
- Broaden the scope of Individuals Covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act,
- Permit secondary strikes,
- Prohibit discrimination against workers who participate in strikes,
- Prohibit employer activities designed to discourage union membership, and
- Protect employees who participate in the enforcement of the PRO Act.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the proposed PRO Act and how it aims to strengthen workers’ rights.
- The PRO Act Broadens the Scope of Individuals Covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Act expands the definition of employees to include those who were once considered independent contractors. Under this Act, individuals cannot be considered independent contractors unless (1) they are free from control and direction in performing their service, (2) the service is performed outside the usual course of business for the employer, and (3) the individual is engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business
2. The Act Permits Secondary Strikes
Union members can participate in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (referred to as secondary strikes). Also, employers cannot bring claims against unions that encourage secondary strikes.
3. It Prohibits Discrimination Against Workers Who Participate in Strikes
The Act expands the definition of “unfair labor practices” to include discrimination against workers who participate in strikes. Employers will also be prohibited from replacing employees who participate in strikes.
4. The PRO Act Prohibits Employers From Engaging in Activities Designed to Discourage Union Membership
The ACT makes it an unfair labor practice for employers to coerce employees into attending mandatory meetings designed to discourage union membership. Employers also cannot enter agreements with employees that waives the employee’s right to pursue collective or class action lawsuits.
5. The Act Protects Employees Involved in Enforcement Proceedings
Employers will not be able to retaliate against employees (including those in management) for:
- Providing information about violations to enforcement agencies,
- Participating in an enforcement proceeding,
- Starting a proceeding due to a violation (whistleblowing), or
- Refusing to participate in activities they believe violate labor laws.
Grissom Miller Law Firm Stands With Labor Unions
Our experienced employment attorneys represent labor unions and their members. If you have questions or concerns about your rights in the workplace, contact us to schedule a consultation. We are happy to answer questions about the impact of the pending PRO Act and how it can strengthen workers’ rights.