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Dems Desperate to Deliver Last-Minute Favors to Big Labor Bosses

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

With Democrats expected to lose control of Congress this November, progressives are desperate to ram through several stalled legislative priorities on their way out the door. 


The Democrat-controlled House Education and Labor Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday to gin up momentum for several proposals that would help Big Labor bosses but harm American workers. Instead of spending taxpayer resources propping up bad bills, lawmakers should focus on reining in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a runaway agency working as a government appendage of union bosses. 

In the hearing, Democrats will likely try to resuscitate “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act, legislation that would rewrite labor law for union bosses and deal a body blow to small businesses battling the Biden recession. 

The PRO Act nullifies right-to-work laws nationwide, which protect approximately 166 million Americans in 27 states, more than half the country. In right-to-work states, employers cannot force employees to join a union as a condition of employment. Right-to-work laws do not prevent workers from organizing, but they do protect workers’ freedom to choose whether or not to join and fund a union with part of their paycheck. 

The bill also makes it more difficult for Americans to earn a living as independent contractors by instituting an onerous three-step test that is unprecedented in federal law. The PRO Act’s “ABC test” is modeled after California’s AB5 law, which is destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of independent truckers who want to be their own boss.


This is designed to force independent contractors to become W-2 employees, which would allow Big Labor to force them into unions. Over 59 million Americans engage in some sort of freelance work, and less than 1 in 10 independent contractors would rather work as W-2 employees. A Tholos Foundation study found that 96 percent of workers that would pay more tax under a nationwide ABC test make less than $400,000 per year, breaking Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000.

The PRO Act passed the House last year and has languished in the Senate since then. This is not for lack of trying – Democrats have repeatedly attempted to jam pieces of the PRO Act into various reconciliation packages and other legislative vehicles. 

For their part, the Biden Administration has used its power to push Big Labor’s priorities by hook or by crook, giving Congress prime opportunities for oversight hearings in the next Congress. Shortly after taking office, President Biden launched a government-wide task force examining ways to use federal power to increase union membership. 

The NLRB, which is packed with former SEIU attorneys, has consistently pushed pieces of the PRO Act without Congressional approval. Under Chair Lauren McFerran’s direction, the NLRB has begun the process of reexamining the criteria for independent contracting as well as the definition of joint employment under the National Labor Relations Act. If the NLRB succeeds, key provisions of the PRO Act would come into force without passing Congress, devastating workers and small businesses all across the country. 


The Biden NLRB has also improperly tipped the scales in favor of unionization during organizing campaigns, a stark departure from the notion that the Board should be a neutral arbiter of union elections. The NLRB’s maneuvering ahead of the unionization vote at Amazon’s JFK8 facility is a high-profile example of the Board’s pro-union bias. 

In April, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) prevailed in a representation election overseen by the NLRB. While the establishment media has painted the ALU’s victory as a David vs. Goliath effort, there is more to the story than the media has let on.

Just one week before the election, the NLRB filed a petition in federal court to force Amazon to rehire terminated employee Gerald Bryson, claiming that Amazon fired him to thwart the unionization effort. According to video evidence, the ex-employee hurled sexually charged, vulgar, and profane comments over a bullhorn at a female colleague in their shared workplace and broadcast it on social media.

The NLRB waited 23 months – long after it had gathered the relevant information to issue a complaint – to file the preliminary injunction. The NLRB waited until a week before the JKF8 vote to tip the scales the hardest for the union – and admitted as much in its court filings.

Not only did the NLRB intervene at the last minute to improperly influence the employees’ vote, but it did so to protect a workplace bully. While the left claims to care about worker’s rights, clearly only certain workers’ rights matter. The Biden NLRB is willing to promote workplace harassment so long as it furthers Big Labor’s goals.


The Amazon case is one of many examples of the supposedly impartial NLRB delivering for Big Labor. Instead of pushing proposals like the PRO Act that would hurt workers, Congress should conduct robust oversight hearings into the NLRB’s conduct.

Tom Hebert is federal affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform.

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