Tom Hebert

SURVEY: 61% Of Small Businesses Say PRO Act Will Kill Their Business

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, April 29th, 2021, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

A new survey from Alignable shows that 61% of American small businesses say that the left-wing “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act will kill their business. The PRO Act is sweeping legislation that will drastically increase organized labor’s power at the expense of the American worker. 

The PRO Act nationalizes California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors that would force companies to hire freelancers as W-2 employees. Companies hire freelancers for a variety of reasons, including expertise, specialized skills, or fulfilling a project-based need. Independent contractors all across the country prefer the flexibility of freelancing to the rigidity of a traditional employment arrangement. 

The survey shows that a national ABC test could lead to freelancers losing 76 percent of their business. Additionally, 40 percent of businesses said that they would need to turn away work projects that would require freelancers to complete. 45 percent of all small businesses would ultimately be forced to shut down due to the lack of freelancers. 

The PRO Act would be devastating for minority-owned businesses, 62 percent of which say they are “vitally or highly dependent” on side hustles to make a living. Similarly, 67 percent of women-owned businesses say they would lose most of their revenue under the PRO Act, along with 45 percent of veteran-owned businesses. 

Ultimately, the PRO Act is a very real threat to small businesses across the board. Congress should vote against the PRO Act and all of its provisions if proposed in separate legislation or included in a larger bill. 

Photo Credit: Randy von Liski


Biden Labor Task Force A Last-Ditch Lifeline To Humiliated Union Bosses

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has created a task force to find ways to leverage government power to increase union membership. Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will lead the task force composed of more than twenty Cabinet and agency heads. 

Make no mistake about it – Biden’s labor task force is nothing but a last-ditch lifeline to humiliated union bosses, and American workers will pay the price. 

Within 180 days, the task force must provide recommendations on two issues:

  • How to use existing legislation or government power to increase union membership

  • What future policies need to be imposed to increase union membership

Whatever recommendations the task force provides will be unlikely to stop the membership bleed organized labor has suffered over the past five decades. In 1954, 34.8 percent of American workers were in a union – in 2020, just 10.8 percent of workers were unionized.

Unions have continued to take a beating during the Biden presidency, despite Biden’s promise to be the “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” Organized labor’s most recent embarrassment was a crushing loss in Bessemer, Alabama, where 71 percent of Amazon warehouse workers voted against unionization. The final tally was a lopsided 1,798 votes against unionization to 738 votes for unionization.

One of the task force’s top recommendations will likely be passage of the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act, the left’s other lifeline to Big Labor. 

The PRO Act is a grab-bag of liberal provisions designed to screw over American workers. Key provisions would: 

  • Violate worker privacy by forcing employers to give union organizer sensitive employee contact information, including home addresses, cell phone and landline numbers, and email addresses. This would allow union bosses to intimidate workers into joining unions at homes or workplaces.

  • Nullify state Right-to-Work laws, which protect 166 million Americans in 27 states from being forced to pay union dues just to get a job.

  • Change union elections to allow union bosses to collect cards from workers to demonstrate support for the union, rather than holding a secret ballot election.

  • Nationalize California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors, which has forced the mass reclassification of California's independent contractors and limited freelance opportunities statewide. More than 57 million freelancers could risk losing work if the ABC test were adopted at the federal level.

  • Codify the expanded joint employer standard, severely harming franchises and their employees.

  • Codify shortened representation election time frames, giving the unions a large advantage in these elections by shortening the time for debate over unionization.

The fact is, American workers just aren’t buying what unions are selling, and haven’t for decades. The Biden labor task force’s mission is to figure out how to use government power to force as many Americans into unions as possible. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Biden's Bloated IRS Means More Democrat Campaign Cash

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has called for $80 billion in new taxpayer funding for the Internal Revenue Service. 

Even Obama-era IRS chief John Koskinen, who often claimed that the IRS was underfunded when he was in charge, says the Biden IRS proposal is way out of line. “I’m not sure you’d be able to efficiently use that much money,” Koskinen said. “That’s a lot of money.” 

This massive funding increase will be a boon for the union that represents IRS employees. 

  • The left-wing National Treasury Employees Union represents 150,000 taxpayer-funded federal employees across 31 departments and agencies. The NTEU is famous for aggressive use of lawsuits in order to advance Democrat union priorities. 

  • NTEU collects dues from roughly 70,000 IRS employees, nearly half of NTEU’s total membership.

  • NTEU shovels 97 percent of their money into Democrat campaign coffers. In the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, NTEU’s political action committee raised $838,288. Out of $609,000 in spending on federal candidates, an overwhelming 97.04 percent went to Democrats. 

  • IRS employees regularly perform Democrat union work on the taxpayer dime. In fiscal year 2013, IRS employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activity, costing taxpayers $23.5 million in salary and benefits. To add insult to injury, the IRS had at least 40 out of 201 workers solely devoted to union activities that made $100,000. 

The $80 billion Biden IRS bailout is just another way to funnel taxpayer money to Democrat campaign coffers. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Democrat “PRO Act” Is Pro-Union Boss and Anti-Worker

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, April 26th, 2021, 1:45 PM PERMALINK

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is currently under Senate consideration. If implemented, the harmful PRO Act would massively increase the power of Big Labor at the expense of American workers. 

Union membership in America has been in freefall for decades. In 1954, 34.8 percent of American workers were in a union - in 2020, just 10.8 percent of workers were unionized.

This presents a big problem for the left, as Big Labor is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funding just in the 2020 cycle alone. Instead of respecting American workers and their broad desire to stop joining unions, the Democrat party wants to force workers to join unions in order to keep their campaign coffers full. 

The PRO Act increases Big Labor’s power by nullifying Right to Work laws nationwide that protect 166 million Americans in 27 states. Right to Work laws ban employers from forcing their employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. In Right to Work states, no worker has to make the choice between putting food on the table or paying off a union boss. 

The PRO Act also significantly erodes worker privacy by forcing employers to turn over personal employee contact information to union organizers in advance of any election. This sensitive information can include home addresses, home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, shift hours, and personal email addresses. This would open up every worker to coercion, harassment, and intimidation from union organizers without regard for employee privacy. 

Unions are famous for bullying workers into compliance. In Wisconsin, a Right to Work state, a worker at a Kohler plant did not want to join the Local 833 union. That earned the worker a threatening call from the union boss at his plant, who said that “I don’t want anything bad happening because [the worker wasn’t] joining. President Joe Biden also channeled these thuggish tactics by warning business owners that they will pay a “personal price” for educating their workers on the drawbacks of organized labor. 

The PRO Act’s forced disclosure of sensitive contact information would open up workers to 24/7 intimidation from union organizers. Congress should reject the PRO Act. 

Photo Credit: Martin Brochhaus


ATR, OCC Urges Congress To Reject The Misleadingly-Named “Paycheck Fairness Act”

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 10:15 AM PERMALINK

The House of Representatives will soon vote on H.R. 7, the misleadingly-named “Paycheck Fairness Act,” legislation introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). If implemented, H.R. 7 would enact no new pay discrimination protections. Instead, the bill would give greedy trial lawyers unprecedented opportunity to target employers with frivolous lawsuits. 

Americans for Tax Reform and the Open Competition Center oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act and urge all members of Congress to vote NO. 

While the left claims H.R. 7 will close the “gender pay gap,” this legislation is not about equal pay for equal work. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 explicitly outlawed gender-based pay discrimination. And while men make slightly more on average than women, accurate estimates show that women make 95 to 98 cents per every dollar a man makes, a far narrower difference than the 22-cent pay gap the left constantly cites. 

Under the Equal Pay Act, employees must provide evidence that their bosses are engaging in pay discrimination based on sex. Once they have provided the evidence, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to prove that the wage difference is based on “any factor other than sex.” 

The Paycheck Fairness Act abolishes this decades-old standard and replaces it with a “bona fide factor other than sex” standard. This would require businesses to show that pay discrepancies between workers purportedly doing the same job are “consistent with business necessity.” 

While these may seem like mild semantic differences, this change would erode crucial flexibility in the workplace. Currently, employers can negotiate employment and compensation arrangements with male and female workers that prefer more flexibility to a larger paycheck. Under the new “bona fide factor” standard, employers would likely be pressured to enact standardized compensation packages for employees to mitigate risk of litigation. 

H.R. 7 would also lead to a dramatic decrease, or outright elimination, of performance-based pay in the American workplace. Under the new standard, employers could become liable for rewarding male and female employees with different bonuses based on performance, as a female worker could allege in court that these bonuses were not a “business necessity.” This risk would encourage businesses to adopt a uniform pay scale, reducing crucial incentives for employees to excel and suppressing pay across the board. 

Additionally, H.R. 7 would automatically make workers part of class-action lawsuits unless they opt-out, encouraging greedy trial lawyers to reap a windfall by filing class-action suits against businesses. H.R. 7 also effectively removes the $300,000 cap for punitive damages for employment discrimination cases, putting employers at even greater risk of litigation. 

Ultimately, the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act will only harm workers and expose employers to frivolous litigation. All members of Congress should vote NO. 

Photo Credit: Dan Gaken


Republicans Should Continue To Reject Cicilline Antitrust Report

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 8:00 AM PERMALINK

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday will markup the “Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets” report spearheaded by Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.). 

The report is nothing more than a Democrat attempt to reshape decades of antitrust law to the detriment of American competition and innovation.

Not a single Republican joined the report when it was initially released, and Republicans should remain opposed to the left’s attempts to weaponize antitrust law. 

ATR stands in opposition to both the findings and recommendations of this report which recommends restricting tech companies from operating in multiple markets and altering how antitrust enforcement can be brought against suspected violators. 

Alarmingly, the Cicilline report argues that Courts judging antitrust enforcement on the “narrow” basis of consumer welfare have significantly weakened antitrust laws over the past decades. One proposed solution is to rewrite existing laws to essentially nullify the consumer welfare standard, which would cripple American free enterprise and innovation. 

Under the consumer welfare standard, business conduct is evaluated on whether or not it harms consumers through tangible factors such as higher prices or reduced quality or output. If consumers are not being harmed, antitrust enforcement action is not taken. The consumer welfare standard, which provides a rule-of-law approach to antitrust enforcement, has undergirded antitrust law for over four decades. 

Before the consumer welfare standard was widely adopted, antitrust law was vague and unfocused, leading to inconsistent rulings and enforcement actions designed to punish political enemies or reward political allies. Abandoning the consumer welfare standard would only serve to politicize the antitrust enforcement process and empower faceless bureaucrats and trial lawyers to target companies they do not like with frivolous monopolization litigation. 

After the report was first published in October, ATR President Grover Norquist said the following: 

These recommendations pursue political prerogatives rather than consider what is truly best for all Americans. It is not good for all Americans if breaking up a firm means prices go up 20%. Nor is it good if those experiencing food insecurity are cut off from innovative food delivery services. Small business is not better off without a digital main street to compete with Big Box retailers physical and digital store fronts. Smart phone users could choose a fully open system, but most think they are better off when their devices and app stores secure their payment data. We were not better off when GPS systems led our car to a dead-end road or the edge of a lake. 

Ahead of Wednesday’s markup, it is important to keep in mind the Cicilline report remains a tool to increase the power of government bureaucrats to gain power at the expense of American innovation and competition. Every Republican rightly stood against the Cicilline report when it was first published. No Republicans should support the report after the markup.

Photo Credit: Brookings Institution


ATR Leads Coalition Opposed to Sami's Law

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 5:00 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform has led a coalition of 17 groups and activists in opposition to H.R. 1082, also known as "Sami's Law." If implemented, H.R. 1082 would undermine independent contractors nationwide and open the door for crushing federal regulation of the ridesharing industry. 

The coalition urges Congress to vote against H.R. 1082 and any of its provisions if proposed in separate bills. 

You can view the letter here and below. 

Dear Member of Congress,

We write in opposition to H.R. 1082, known as “Sami’s Law.”

This is not a safety bill. It is a bill to undermine independent contractors nationwide.

We urge you to vote against this legislation and any of its provisions if proposed in separate bills.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) want to rush H.R. 1082 through Congress without hearings or scrutiny.

H.R. 1082 would set up a federal taxicab commission to regulate Americans who use or provide ridesharing services. Ridesharing is already heavily regulated by state and local governments, and federal regulation is completely unwarranted. 

Biden Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will stack the new 17-member federal regulatory commission with anti-independent contractor central planners. The Washington DC-based commission will work to saddle all 50 states with top-down federal regulations.

Ridesharing emerged in the first place because Americans were desperate to find an alternative to the corrupt taxi commissions and entrenched industry players who provided bad service at excessive cost. 

Private sector ridesharing services have voluntarily and proactively developed a full slate of safety features for riders and drivers, including but not limited to the name and photo of the driver, the make, model, and color of the vehicle, the license plate number, as well as the ability for riders to share their real-time trip status with family and friends who can see their exact location and time of arrival. 

By a 3-1 ratio, Americans rightly consider rideshare drivers to be independent contractors and not employees, according to a landmark Pew Research Center survey. The survey found that most Americans believe the government should use a light regulatory touch in this area of the economy. As noted by Pew, "the clear preference for a light regulatory approach among partisans in all camps is striking."

As noted above, ridesharing is already heavily regulated at the state and local level. This bill would make it more difficult for Americans to earn a living as independent contractors. 

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Ryan Ellis
President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity 

Curt Levey
President, Committee for Justice

Ashley Baker
Director of Public Policy, Committee for Justice

Thomas Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

Mike Hruby
President, Free Jobs for Massachusetts 

Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women's Voice

Andrew Langer
President, Institute for Liberty

Seton Motley
President, Less Government

Tom Hebert
Executive Director, Open Competition Center 

Roslyn Layton, PhD Aalborg University
Senior Contributor, Forbes

 

Photo Credit: kmf164


Joe Biden Jams Job-Killing PRO Act Into $2 Trillion Tax Hike Package

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, 11:30 AM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has unveiled his misleadingly-named “American Jobs Plan,” a massive infrastructure package funded by a $2 trillion tax hike on the American people. 

In the plan, Biden calls on Congress to pass the “Projecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act,” radical legislation that would kill millions of jobs and increase Big Labor’s power at the expense of American workers. 

The PRO Act nullifies Right to Work laws across the country, which prohibit employers from forcing their employees to join a union as a condition of employment. Existing Right to Work laws protect 166 million Americans in 27 states, more than half the U.S. population. 

Banning Right to Work laws is the last thing workers need as our economy recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic. Research shows that Right to Work states experience stronger growth in the number of people employed, growth in manufacturing employment, and growth in the private sector than states run by union bosses. 

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, the percentage growth in the number of people employed between 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 8.8% and 4.2% in forced-unionism states. Growth in manufacturing employment between 2012-2017 in Right to Work states was 5.5% and 1.7% in forced-unionism states. The percentage growth in the private sector from 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 13.0% and 10.1% in forced-unionism states.

The PRO Act is a crucial part of the Biden Administration’s full-court press to destroy the gig economy and crush job opportunities for independent contractors. The PRO Act implements California’s harmful “ABC test” for independent contractors, which forced the mass reclassification of California’s freelancers, causing them to flee the Golden State to chase their dreams and earn a living. A nationwide ABC test would threaten the livelihoods of more than 57 million Americans that engage in freelance work. 

Under the ABC test, businesses must prove that a contractor is doing duties “outside the usual course of work of the hiring entity” and that “the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.” This significantly limits the ability of businesses to retain contractors who may operate within the scope of work sometimes performed by employees in similar circumstances. It’s an unnecessary distinction that prohibits most businesses from working with independent contractors.

The ABC test forced the mass reclassification of California’s independent contractors, forcing countless residents to flee the Golden State to flee the state to pay their bills and chase their dreams. More than 90 percent of California independent contractors opposed the ABC test reclassification

ATR has compiled 655 personal testimonials from independent contractors who details the ways that AB5 has hurt them, which you can view here

Ultimately, Biden’s aggressive push to implement the PRO Act proves that the so-called “American Jobs Plan” will only kill jobs, not create them. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


ATR Supports Sen. Lankford's "Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act"

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, March 25th, 2021, 1:00 PM PERMALINK

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) has reintroduced the “Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act” (PPRRA), legislation that would provide a pathway toward identifying and repealing regulations that have hindered the ability of the country to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

ATR supports this legislation and urges its swift passage.  

This legislation would establish a temporary bipartisan Congressional review commission that would analyze regulations to determine their efficacy. The Commission’s main focus will be on regulations that could impact our nation’s COVID-19 recovery or hinder our response to future pandemics, with special emphasis on those that create unnecessary paperwork or create red tape for smaller entities. 

The Commission can determine if a regulation should be amended, streamlined, or repealed entirely. Commission recommendations would then be given expedited review by both chambers of Congress. 

Similar commissions have been effective in taming bureaucratic bloat in the past. For example, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions have reined in redundant spending by closing certain post-Cold War Department of Defense military installations.  

The PPRRA resembles the “Regulatory Improvement Act,” legislation with broad bipartisan support that has been introduced in Congress every year since 2013. The RIA would establish a similar independent commission to comb through the Code of Federal Regulations to identify duplicative, unnecessary regulations that hamper economic activity. The Commission would then present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote. 

In the early days of the pandemic, excessive regulation on all levels of government hindered our nation’s COVID-19 response. Onerous certificate-of-need regulations led to a shortage of ICU beds at the state level, and FDA regulations initially restricted states from developing COVID-19 testing. 

As our economy recovers from the immense damage the Coronavirus pandemic has caused, it is vitally important that burdensome red tape does not stand in the way of job creation or small business growth. Additionally, needless regulation should not stand in the way of our nation’s ability to respond to future pandemics or outbreaks. 

If implemented, the PPRRA will help advance future regulatory reform by providing a pathway to repeal regulations that were never needed in the first place. Congress should pass the PPRRA and President Biden should sign it into law. 

Photo Credit: Güldem Üstün


ATR Supports New Hampshire Senate Bill 61

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Thursday, March 25th, 2021, 11:08 AM PERMALINK

This morning, the New Hampshire House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 61, which prohibits collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. 

If implemented, S.B. 61 would make New Hampshire the 28th Right to Work state, a massive victory for workers all across the Granite State. 

ATR submitted testimony in support of this legislation, which you can view here or below. 

--

Dear Representative,

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across New Hampshire, I urge you to support Senate Bill 61, legislation that prohibits collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. If implemented, S.B. 61 would finally make New Hampshire a Right to Work state.

Right to Work laws allow workers the freedom of employment without forced membership in a labor union or forced payment to a union boss. While workers are free to join a union if they choose to do so, this bill simply affirms that workers in New Hampshire never have to join a union just to get a job. Existing Right to Work Laws protect 166 million Americans in 27 states, more than half the U.S. population.

If implemented, Senate Bill 61 would be a massive victory for New Hampshire workers. Research shows that Right to Work states experience stronger growth in the number of people employed, growth in manufacturing employment, and growth in the private sector. 

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, the percentage growth in the number of people employed between 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 8.8%, and 4.2% in forced-unionism states. Growth in manufacturing employment between 2012-2017 in Right to Work states was 5.5%, and 1.7% in forced-unionism states. The percentage growth in the private sector from 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 13.0%, and 10.1% in forced-unionism states.

Additionally, states that compel workers to join a union are losing residents at a rapid rate. An analysis by Stan Greer of the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that forced unionism states, between 2007-2017, experienced net migration of -7.4%, whereas Right to Work states experienced a 1.6% growth in number of residents.

No worker in the Granite State should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying off a union boss. If S.B. 61 becomes law, no worker will have to make that choice. 

ATR supports S.B. 61 and urges the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee to vote YES.

Best,

Tom Hebert
Federal Affairs Manager
Americans for Tax Reform 

Photo Credit: cmh2315fl


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