AGC of America has released an analysis of how the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021 (PRO Act) would affect open-shop construction contractors, as well as a shorter summary on the same topic. The papers are posted on AGC’s PRO Act web page along with similar papers addressing the bill’s potential impact on union contractors, an AGC ConsructorCast recording, and other PRO Act resources.
The PRO Act proposes sweeping changes to labor law that threaten the viability of the commercial construction industry, its long history of offering advancement and opportunity to all workers, and its ability to rebuild our economy and revive our nation. It seeks to arm unions with practically every legal and tactical advantage available to increase their likelihood of gaining recognition and to ensure that, once recognized, they get the most favorable terms possible.
As the papers explain, among the consequences of the bill, the PRO Act would:
- significantly restrict employers’ ability to defend against top-down union organizing and deplete employers’ leverage in the bargaining process once organized;
- legalize picketing in all respects at all times, including unlimited picketing for recognition and picketing against neutral employers;
- allow union-only subcontracting restrictions beyond the jobsite and strikes to get them;
- effectively nullify state right-to-work laws, taking away employees’ choice to contribute fees to a labor organization, and instead requiring them to do so;
- greatly increase penalties and damages payable by employers, and create personal liability for directors and officers;
- expand the universe of covered employees through a strict independent contractor test; and
- broaden the definition of “joint employer” to expand a contractor’s potential liability for another employer’s unfair labor practices and bargaining obligations.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9, 2021, despite AGC’s massive grassroots efforts to oppose passage. AGC will continue to fight the legislation.