Small Business Speaks Out Against PRO Act

Date: September 08, 2021

Arizona news conference details the devastation and harm it would have in the state

Congress is notorious for labeling its legislation in the most misleading terms, and the PRO Act, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, is no exception.

The “Right to Organize” a labor union is under no threat at all, Senate Bill 420 is instead an attempt to game the system to force union representation on a great swath of American workers who choose, and enjoy, working for themselves, mainly as independent contractors.

“Thousands of small businesses choose to do business as independent contractors,” said NFIB Arizona State Director Chad Heinrich at an August 30 news conference with other business association leaders. “These are businesses that both consumers and other businesses rely on every day. The owners of these businesses choose to be independent contractors because of the flexibility it affords them, and the independence it allows by enabling them to run their own business and be their own boss.  They do not want to be converted into full-time employees, and many fear that they will end up losing clients.”

David Martin, president of the Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors, led off the news conference. “This message is really for President Joe Biden … Ninety-five of Arizona workers are nonunion. We are a Right to Work state voted on by the people in the 80s. You talked about being an inclusive president, an America for everyone, yet you continue to support the PRO Act, an act that isolates 95% of workers in Arizona.”

Joining Heinrich and Martin at the news conference were:

  • Michelle Ahlmer, executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association
  • Ricardo Carlo, president of the Associated Minority Contractors Association of Arizona
  • Tom Dunn, president of the Arizona Builders Alliance
  • Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

An identical bill, H.R. 842, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9 by a vote of 225 to 206. As of this writing, the U.S. Senate has not acted on its version, S. 420, which sits in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Arizona U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have not yet committed to a position on it.

If passed, the PRO Act, would, among other things:

  • Abolish state “Right to Work” laws that protect non-union workers from contributing to union fees.
  • Remove the right of workers to hold a secret ballot regarding if they should or should not join a union.

  • Include a stricter version of California’s “ABC” independent contractor law that forced that state to immediately carve out dozens of exceptions, once it realized the disaster a one-size-fits-all rule created.

Media coverage of the news conference included reports in the Arizona Republic, Chamber Business News, and AZBigMedia.

More information about the PRO Act can be read from this NFIB news release, which contains an infographic about the legislation. Click the video below to watch the 19-minute news conference. Heinrich speaks at the 10:54-minute mark. His comments can also be read here.

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