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NRF: Expanded Union Powers Would Harm Employers & Employees

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation said legislation passed by the House tonight expanding the power of labor unions would infringe on the rights of both businesses and workers and called on the Senate to vote against the measure.

“The PRO Act would fundamentally redefine labor relations,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “This is a laundry list of extreme labor proposals that are both individually and collectively extremely harmful to employees, employers and the American economy. This massive overhaul of federal labor law would be bad legislation in the best of times and is certainly not what our nation needs when the economy is trying to recover from the pandemic.”

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act passed the House on a largely party-line vote tonight and action on the measure now moves to the Senate. The bill includes more than 30 proposals, most of which have been turned down by Congress, overturned by the courts or rejected by the agencies that would administer them.

NRF sent House members a letter earlier today opposing the bill. NRF called the legislation “the worst bill in Congress” in a recent blog post and organized a grassroots campaign urging lawmakers to vote “NO on PRO” that has produced more than 700 calls, texts and emails.

The legislation’s provisions include “card check” union-organizing elections where workers would lose their right to a private ballot, “ambush” elections giving little notice to employers, formation of “micro” unions within a single department or location of a company, and cancellation of state right-to-work laws. Also included are expansion of “joint employer” status that could make a business liable for workers it neither employs nor controls, adoption of California’s “ABC test” for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors, and disclosure of employees’ private contact information to unions.

NRF has worked with the White House and Congress and in the courts for more than a decade to oppose most of the provisions included in the PRO Act when they were proposed as standalone initiatives. NRF co-chairs the lobbying committee of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was formed to oppose anti-business and anti-worker labor laws, regulations and rulings that threaten job creation and economic growth.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

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