Arizona’s economy is recovering slowly but surely, but there’s still a long road ahead before local businesses and industries are back on firm footing. Lawmakers in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., should be working to pass commonsense solutions that help strengthen American businesses and put folks back to work.
Instead, some in Washington seem to be more focused on passing a pro-union agenda at the expense of workers and businesses alike. The cleverly but misleadingly titled “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” (PRO Act) under consideration in the Senate is crammed full of radical provisions that would threaten workers’ rights, stifle job creation, and upend decades of established labor law — all so union bosses can increase their flailing registration numbers.
We are grateful, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are two of three Democratic senators who have refused to sign on as cosponsors to this dangerously misguided bill. They should continue to remain firm in order to protect Arizona’s economic recovery and ensure local businesses and employees are not stripped of any rights.
Under the PRO Act, workers would no longer be able to vote for unionization by a secret ballot. Instead, they would have their right to privacy and freedom of choice violated by being forced to make those decisions in front of other employees, their employers, and even union organizers. Union-organizing election timeframes would also be cut drastically shorter in order to cut-off debate about the potential disadvantages of unionization in a workplace, giving unions the upper hand.
On top of that, this bill would give the federal government the power to actually force unionization on employers and employees. It would essentially allow a government arbitrator to step in and mandate binding contract terms if employers and employees are unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement within 120 days. Neither side would be given an opportunity to vote on whether they approve their new contract and employers would not be able to contest contract terms, even if they cannot afford them. This would be a disaster and could end up hurting local businesses and threatening local jobs.
Arizona is a proud right-to-work state — it’s even written into our state Constitution — and the PRO Act would rescind all right-to-work laws here as well as in the 26 other states that have voted to implement them. That means Arizona workers would be forced to pay union dues, regardless of whether they voted for unionization or support a union’s activities. It is difficult to see how any of this would help workers. Right to work states have enjoyed more economic prosperity as a result of good policy, why would anyone want to change that?
All the PRO Act would do is help union leaders increase membership numbers by infringing on the rights of employees as well as employers. Taking away employee choice on whether to join a union, how much a union takes out of their paycheck, what happens to their private data, and whether they even have a job is not the answer. This bill could make it significantly harder for local businesses and industries to get back on their feet, all at the expense of the workers the bill is supposed to help. Senators Sinema and Kelly should oppose this dangerous legislation.
Steve Trussell is executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association.