by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
The U.S. House bill, “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” (PRO Act), has attracted a lot of media attention lately – and for good reason. If passed, this pro-union bill would nullify 28 states’ right-to-work laws. Carolina Journal’s Kari Travis writes:
The worst thing about the legislation is it holds more than 20 provisions, all of which work together to make a “Frankenstein-esque kind of bill,” said Isabel Soto, a labor policy analyst at the American Action Forum, a conservative-leaning think tank.
The bill harkens back to similar legislation passed in California last year. Travis explains:
One of those provisions would reclassify independent contractors as regular employees — a move that has raised the ire of freelancers and independent contractors in states such as California, [JLF’s Jon Sanders] and Soto say.
California’s Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect Jan. 1, forces rideshare companies including Uber and Lyft, and delivery companies such as Postmates, to treat drivers as full-time workers. It also sets limits on how many articles a freelance writer can sell to a single publication before being considered an actual employee.
If these regulations were put into place nationally, it could cost America billions. Travis writes:
[T]he PRO Act would place crippling costs on companies that depend on contractors, or who operate as a platform for independent workers, Soto said. If passed, the bill would place an additional $3.6 billion to $12.1 billion in operating costs on employers.
That is because these regulations are incompatible with the gig economy. Travis writes:
The point of the gig economy is that it allows people to make money on the side — an advantage that often helps low-income people, [Duke University political science professor Mike] Munger said.
…The PRO Act — and contractor laws like it — would break North Carolina’s sharing economies simply by forcing companies into an ill-fitting mold, Munger said.
A ride-sharing company, for instance, won’t hire someone if it has to pay them for 40 hours, Munger said.
“So, these companies won’t exist.”