Policy and Legal

Labor & Employment

Manufacturers Stand Up for Employee Freedoms

The U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing yesterday on a bill that could negatively impact American workers’ freedoms and lead to fewer jobs. Heavily backed by large labor unions throughout the drafting process, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would give sweeping new powers to unions while putting constraints on individual employees, small and local businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers.

The legislation includes provisions that would strip away workers’ free choice in union elections and eliminate “right-to-work” protections for workers across the country. This would even include the 27 states that have already passed right-to-work laws—rolling back these states’ democratic decisions and forcing workers across the country to pay union fees out of their own pockets—even when they don’t support it. In addition, the legislation could interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it harder for businesses to secure important legal advice on matters involving complex labor law.

“This legislation has the potential to harm workers across the country—and presupposes that a sweeping federal law can better achieve fairness and prosperity for individual states, businesses and workers than decisions made by those entities themselves,” said Callie Harman, director of labor policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “This is a legislative wish list for unions that would damage employees’ rights to privacy and association, limit businesses’ ability to grow and hire, and put in place policies that have already been rejected in the courts. Legislation like this threatens the very industries that benefit our communities and strengthen our country.”

Manufacturers nationwide are speaking out against the bill, saying that the legislation strips workers of essential rights and ignores the dangerous consequences for the United States economy. They warn that if the legislation were to be adopted, it would tilt the playing field in favor of union organizers and against workers and employers while increasing the authority of unelected bureaucrats in Washington at the expense American free enterprise.

“At a time when the manufacturing industry is showing record output and fueling a strong economy, these changes could upend progress and slam the brakes on our economic success,” said Harman. “Workers deserve the kind of opportunity that the manufacturing industry is making possible, and we will continue to fight for that freedom in the face of these challenges.”

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