Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., initially introduced the PRO Act in 2019. The bill would allow the National Labor Relations Board to fine employers who violate workers' rights, ease restrictions against worker strikes, follow California's new independent contractor law and erode right-to-work laws in 27 states.
"The [PRO] Act is a major step toward ensuring that workers can exercise their basic right to form a union and collectively bargain for higher pay, safer working conditions, and decent benefits – including paid leave, quality health care, and a secure retirement," Scott, the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman, said in a statement.
He added that the legislation "is an opportunity to honor the contributions of the many frontline workers during the pandemic and American workers nationwide who continue to uphold our economy."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and right-to-work advocates, however, are sounding the alarm against Scott's bill.
U.S. right-to-work laws ensure that Americans can work specific jobs without having to join unions or pay union dues. More than half of the country's states have adopted right-to-work laws since the 1950s.
Glenn Spencer, senior vice president of the Chamber of Commerce's Employment Policy Division, in a Thursday statement called the reintroduction of the legislation "disappointing."
"This legislation strips workers of their privacy, threatens private ballots, imposes California's disastrous independent contractor test, jeopardizes employers' right to free speech, and threatens the loss of a job should workers choose not to pay union dues," Spencer said. "This bill is a threat to America's workers, employers, and our economy."
He went on to describe the legislation as "a grab-bag of harmful policies that would deprive millions of workers of their privacy and fundamentally alter our nation's system of labor relations."
National Right To Work Committee President Mark Mix similarly criticized Scott's legislation in a Thursday statement, describing it as the "Pushbutton Unionism Bill" because "it will make forcing workers into an unwanted union as easy as pushing a button."
"Now, after Big Labor poured millions in forced-dues dollars into their campaigns last year, these politicians have put workers back in their sights at the behest of the union bosses that helped get them elected," Mix said.
He continued: "When union bosses can force people to pay dues or 'fees,' they don’t have to worry about what those people want or need. ... Often, the only thing the union bosses end up caring about is how much money they can collect, and how lavishly they can spend it on their own comfort and on the politicians they keep in their hip pockets."
Proponents of the PRO Act say the bill would protect workers when employers violate their rights, give workers more freedom to organize, require workers and employers to agree upon "fair share" clauses and give more bargaining rights to workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank focused on U.S. labor research.