On March 9, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. This Act aims to help the Democrats in the House and Senate make amends in the National Labor Relations Act. In case the Senate passes the Act, it will undoubtedly be among the most noteworthy change to the labor law in America over the past decades.
Though it’s not clear whether this Act will see the light of the day or not, it will have a huge impact on the workplaces that have a union in place and those that don’t. Below, you would come to know about some major aspects of what this legislation is all about.
Overriding Right-to-Work Laws
One of the major provisions in the Act is eliminating the right-to-work laws in the states. If this happens, it will be a reversal of the Taft-Hartley amendments that date back to 1947. Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Utah, and Arizona, and 22 other states have right-to-work laws, which prevent the labor unions from negotiating all those contracts. The employees will have to shell out union dues to stay employed with the employers.
The supporters of unions are not in favor of right-to-work laws. Under these laws, employees who are entitled to represent unions and avail themselves the benefits don’t require to contribute financially to the union. According to the PRO Act, all provisions mentioned in the union contract shall be considered valid and enforceable irrespective of Territorial or State Law. By removing the right-to-work laws, the PRO Act intends to support and strengthen collective bargaining.
Restricting the Influence of the Employers on Unionization
There is one more way that the PRO Act would be making alterations in the labor laws. The amendment would increase the communication between the employees and the employer throughout the process of unionization. Owing to the PRO Act, employers cannot compel the employees to be present at the meetings. And this is in connection to the views of the management on unionization. Aside from that, the employers’ responsibility would be to report whatever payments they shell out regarding labor law counseling throughout the election process.
In contrast to that, with the help of this particular Act, unions will have it easy while communicating with the members who are willing to come on board. Employers should share the home address, residence phone number, email address, and mobile number of the employees to make this possible. And they have to do it with none other than the union organizers some weeks before the election.
Changes in the Independent Contractor Test
Aside from overriding right-to-work laws, the Act will make certain changes in legal tests. And this is in connection to an independent contractor. This would help many workers get classified as employees. And soon, they will be part of the collective bargaining procedure with a fair representation.
The ABC Test prevents the employers from giving the workers the status of independent contractors unless the person in question is not under any control. The individual is involved in a profession, occupation, business, or trade, so on. If the Act becomes effective, employers will find it difficult to establish independent contractor relationships.
Probability of the PRO Act Coming Into Effect
The PRO Act doesn’t have a definite future. Though the House has given the Act a green signal, the Senate has to clear it. That’s not all. It would require the signature of the United States president to become a law. The Act doesn’t have unanimous support from all the Democrats in the Senate.
Chances are pretty less of the Act eventually becoming law. There might also be some major changes in the Act before it becomes a law.
Since the PRO Act is vast and covers a wide array of topics that could take up a whole day to discuss, we focused on only a few provisions above. Employers who have any confusion, concerns, or questions regarding the Act’s effects should have a detailed discussion with legal counsel. That will certainly help them better understand what might happen if the Act at all becomes a law. They can raise their concern and find answers from legal professionals to ensure there is no ambiguity. Besides, it would also help them with the proper implementation of these rules at the workplace.