With all the news coming out of Washington these days, it’s easy to lose track of actual legislative action in Congress. But there is a bill gaining steam on Capitol Hill that should concern every business in South Carolina.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474 and S. 1306) is essentially a rewrite of American labor law promoted by unions and their allies. This bill would eliminate all state right-to-work laws, which protect workers from being fired if they decline to pay union dues.
South Carolina is one of 22 states that have right-to-work laws that protect the rights of workers not to be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. This designation is a critical competitive advantage cited by many companies that have chosen to locate facilities in South Carolina.
Additionally, the PRO Act would:
- Impose mandatory union contracts if a union and employer do not reach an agreement. This would undermine the collective bargaining process, saddle employers with potentially unaffordable contracts and deprive workers of the right to vote on the terms and conditions of their own employment.
- Deny employers any role in the union election process, which will ensure that workers can’t get balanced information about a critical workplace decision.
- Undermine secret ballot elections — forcing workers to make their choice about unionizing in public and exposing them to possible threats and coercion.
- Impose a more stringent definition of “independent contractor” — denying individuals the ability to work independently, threatening the emerging “gig” economy and reducing flexibility.
- Authorize “secondary boycotts” — allowing unions to launch disruptive protests and pickets against any employer, even those that have nothing to do with a labor dispute (i.e. clients, suppliers, contractors, etc.).
- Interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it harder for businesses, particularly small businesses, to secure legal advice on complex labor law matters.
- Take away the ability of employers to keep their workplaces open during strikes.
The PRO Act would be bad for South Carolina employers. That’s why, this week, the Charleston Metro Chamber adopted a position in opposition to this law’s passage.
Voicing opposition to this bill isn’t some theoretical exercise; it has 40 co-sponsors in Senate and 216 in the House. We need all of South Carolina’s federal officials to stand up for our economy and workers’ rights by voting no to the PRO Act.
Want more information about the PRO Act from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?
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