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February 4 2020

Congress Pushes Anti-Woman, Anti-Worker PRO Act

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Women are making tremendous strides in the labor force. They now outpace men in U.S. payroll jobs. 

There is at least one good reason for this. Women have access to working opportunities--outside of traditional 9-to-5 jobs--that are flexible and give them control over their work. That is a win for those who want greater work-life balance. 

However, leftist members of Congress are busy pushing a federal bill that will eliminate flexible work nationwide: the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (HR 2474). This bill is about boosting union power at the expense of worker flexibility, privacy and freedoms. 

This bill removes women’s rights as workers to decide if they want to unionize, exposes them to potential harassment, and will kill their independent flexible work opportunities just like the AB 5 law did in California. (Read some of those AB 5 stories here.)

The PRO Act will erode workplace progress and eliminate choices for women. Here’s how:

  • Forces independent contractors to be reclassified as employees by changing the definition of “employee” to be similar to California’s AB 5 strict standard for independent contractors. This would eliminate the flexible work opportunities that workers opt for to help them balance other priorities such as caregiving for children or parents. It also denies them the chance to earn income in the sharing economy. 

  • Requires non-union workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment even if they do not want to be part of the union. This eliminates all state Right-to-Work laws, which protect workers in 27 states from being fired if they opt not to pay union dues.

  • Forces employers to give union organizers workers’ private information, including home addresses, cellphone and landline numbers, personal emails, and more. Unions can and have used this information to harass workers.

  • Codifies “card check” nationally which undermines secret ballots and has been abused by unions.

Not only are these provisions of the PRO Act anti-worker, they are anti-woman.

Stripping women of their privacy and opening them up to harassment is dangerous. For example, Patricia Pelletier, a Connecticut woman was the subject of harassment by the Communication Workers of America Local 1103, which obtained her personal contact information and subscribed her for thousands of unwanted magazine subscriptions and consumer products.

Flexibility is critical to keeping many women employed. Some women choose to be independent contractors over employees of a company because they enjoy the flexibility and autonomy to choose who to work for, when to work, how to work, and how often to work. Freelance workers of all occupations would be affected.

As working moms caring for kids or aging parents, they may need employment that allows them to schedule work around morning drop-offs, afternoon pick-ups, after-school activities, and medical appointments. 

Some women are entrepreneurs and want flexible jobs as deliverywomen or ridesharing drivers that support their entrepreneurial enterprises or side hustles. 

Forcing women back onto a 9-5 clock takes away their choice in work and may push some of them out of the labor force. This is a harmful policy that we cannot afford to see adopted nationwide.

Also Read:

California's AB5 Triggers Outcry From Independent Contractors - IWF

Two Truths And A Lie: California Employment Law AB-5 - IWF

California's New Uber Law Just Put Hundreds of Freelance Writers Out of Work - IWF

 




Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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