WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 6, 2020
Today, the House will vote on a radical, backwards-looking bill that will diminish the rights of workers and employers alike while harming the economy and providing a political gift to union bosses. The so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act is opposed by thousands of small business owners, trade associations, and free market organizations around the country.
On the House floor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Republican Leader of the Education and Labor Committee, delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):
"I rise today in opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.
"Big Labor is in a panic over plummeting union membership.
"Union bosses could self-correct and increase transparency and accountability to serve workers better or dedicate more resources to union organizing, rather than attempting to organize less than one-tenth of one percent of eligible employees, as they did in 2018.
"Instead, the largest federation of labor unions in America spends more than three times as much money on political activity as it does on its stated purpose of organizing and representing workers.
"And they are resorting to their usual arm-twisting and intimidation tactics by demanding Democrats pass the PRO Act.
"Before I get into the many, many failings of this bill, I want to correct the Democrats’ false narrative that the decline in union membership is hurting workers.
"Americans are benefitting from a booming economy thanks to Republican tax and regulatory reforms.
"Despite Democrats’ false claims, wages are rising fastest for lower- and middle-income workers. Unemployment is at a 50-year low and millions of jobs have been created since President Trump took office.
"In fact, millions of poor Americans continue to move into the middle class, and millions in the middle class are moving into the ranks of the wealthy.
"The substantial economic mobility many Americans are experiencing should be celebrated.
"Instead, Democrats are trying to claim, falsely, that the economy isn’t working for average Americans and the only way to fix it is to expand forced unionism through coercive, socialist schemes like the PRO Act.
"Let’s also remember that federal law already protects the right of employees to organize, and Republicans respect this right. Any reforms to U.S. labor laws should help workers, not union bosses.
"The PRO Act will require employers to hand over workers’ private, personal information to union organizers without workers having any say in the matter. This would make it even easier for union organizers to target, harass, and intimidate workers.
"It would also overturn all state right-to-work laws. These are laws that allow workers to decide for themselves whether to join a union and pay dues. If the PRO Act becomes law, workers will be forced to take money from their paychecks and give it to labor unions even if they don’t want to be represented by a union.
"This provision is astonishing since we know that from 2010 to 2018, unions spent $1.6 billion in member dues on hundreds of left-wing groups without first receiving consent from workers to do so.
"The PRO Act will also undermine workers’ right to vote by secret ballot. This is hypocrisy at its best. House Democrats elect their own leaders by secret ballot and Democrats held up the USMCA trade deal to guarantee workers in Mexico had the right to a secret ballot. Yet, they are willing to deprive American workers of that same protection.
"Among the PRO Act’s most harmful provisions is the incorporation of California’s newly enacted, overly broad, and confusing definition of employee, which will deprive millions of Americans the opportunity to work independently and start their own businesses.
"Bottom line, there are over 50 harmful provisions in this bill which are bad for workers, job creators, and the U.S. economy."