In today’s Senate HELP Committee hearing to confirm Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, Walsh said that he “certainly” supports the job-killing, independent contractor-crushing PRO Act.
By signaling his support of the PRO Act, Walsh confirms that he will be a champion of President Biden’s anti-worker freedom agenda.
The PRO Act would ban Right to Work Laws that protect 166 million workers in 27 states, more than half the U.S. population. Right to Work laws allow workers the freedom of employment without forced membership in a union or forced payment to a union boss.
Biden has explicitly called for the end of Right to Work, saying: “We should change the federal law [so] that there is no Right to Work allowed anywhere in the country. For real. Not a joke. Not a joke.”
Biden’s real motivation for invalidating Right to Work laws is simple enough – Big Labor is one of Biden’s biggest backers, and unions have collectively spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get Biden elected. Forcing American workers to pay union dues that almost uniformly support Democrat candidates, whether they want to or not, is a clear return on that investment.
Even more ominously, the PRO Act would force employers to provide the personal contact information of employees to unions during organizing efforts, including home addresses and personal phone numbers. This would give union bosses free reign to harass and bully employees into joining unions at the expense of worker privacy.
The PRO Act would be a death blow to the gig economy, which has given millions of Americans the opportunity to pursue success on their own terms by being their own boss. The PRO Act implements California’s “ABC” test to determine whether or not a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The ABC test, codified under California’s disastrous AB5 law, makes it harder for employers to hire independent contractors but easier for unions to unionize workers.
Thanks to AB5, countless freelancers and independent contractors have fled California to participate in the gig economy in other states.
ATR has collected 655 testimonials from Californians that detail how AB5 has pummeled freelancers and independent contractors. For example:
“I lost the career and relationship I was building with a content writing company.” [Link]
“AB5 is why I had to pack my very ill husband with stage 4 cancer and autistic son and leave the state. There is no way I can take care of our family and work a ‘traditional’ type job.” [Link]
“I’m a certified court interpreter. I’ve been very happily freelancing for 15 years. I can choose which agencies to work with, and work as much or as little as I want to spend time with my 3-year-old. AB5 is destroying my wonderful work/life combo.” [Link]
If the PRO Act is implemented, expect these sad stories to come from all fifty states.
Walsh’s eagerness to implement the PRO Act would be a death blow to worker freedom. Independent contractors and freelancers would see their livelihoods destroyed with the stroke of a pen, and workers would once again be forced to join a union and pay dues whether they want to or not.
The Senate should reject Walsh’s nomination.