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Womack Protects Worker Rights

Washington, DC—March 9, 2021....Congressman Steve Womack today voted against the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). The legislation is a draconian overhaul of labor laws that would force workers into unions as a condition of employment, strip employees of secret ballot protections, mandate employers share their workers’ personal information with unions, threaten the ability of independent contractors to compete, and make it easier to increase union harassment. Democrats failed to hold any public hearings or markups on the bill.

Congressman Womack said, “No one should be forced to join a union as a condition for employment. This principle is rightfully enshrined in Arkansas’s right-to-work law, but Democrats are targeting this protection. The PRO Act would invalidate safeguards against forced unionization in the Natural State and across the nation. Pay dues or lose your job scenarios, eliminating secret ballot protections, allowing coercive tactics in the workplace, stripping workers of their privacy—these are the realities of this policy. The bill monopolizes power in the hands of big labor union bosses and destroys the ability of Americans to pursue new jobs and seek gainful employment on their own terms. It’s anti-worker and anti-opportunity.”

Bill Provisions:

  • Eliminates the ability of employees to choose whether or not to join a labor union or pay dues.
  • Undermines the sovereignty of states by completely eradicating the ability for them to have right-to-work laws.
  • Dismantles workers’ absolute right to a free, fair, and secret ballot election on whether or not to join a union, further exposing them to coercion and harassment.
  • Threatens the ability of independent contractors and gig economy workers to compete in the economy by instituting federal mandates that make it increasingly difficult for companies to hire individuals as private contractors.
  • Requires employers to hand over reams of workers’ private, personal information to union organizers, including home addresses, cellphone and landline numbers, personal email addresses, and more—without the consent or even the knowledge of workers.
  • Attacks the free-speech rights of employers by denying employers the opportunity to be heard before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on any matter pertaining to union representation.
  • Makes union bosses more powerful but less accountable to workers, increasing the risk of union corruption and wrongdoing.

Any reform to U.S. labor laws should help workers, not union bosses. In addition to voting against this egregious bill, Womack is also a cosponsor of the National Right-to-Work Act. The approximately one-page bill simply allows workers to choose for themselves whether a union deserves their support or not. Right-to-work states, which include Arkansas, have typically seen increased job growth, and workers earn more real income when cost of living is taken into account, compared to forced-unionization states. Implementing pro-growth policies and strategies is critical as we work to reinvigorate the national economy and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.