In what would amount to the most significant overhaul to American Labor law since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO) on March 9.
While the PRO has several more legislative stops on the road to becoming law, if enacted, the PRO would result in sweeping changes to the NLRA, including, amongst others:
- Expanding the definition of “employee” and limiting the concept of independent contractor
- Easing the joint employer standard
- Prohibiting class-action waivers in arbitration
- Expanding damages under the NLRA to include civil penalties
- Allowing company directors or officers to be personally liable for civil damages
- Prohibiting captive audience meetings
- Creating a private right to action if the NLRB does not seek a 10(j) injunction
- Eroding right to work laws
It is well known that labor reform has been a long-term goal of the Democratic Party. While President Biden has voiced support for the PRO, and House Democrats clearly are in favor of the PRO as it currently stands, there is a significant question as to how the PRO will proceed through the Senate, and whether it will survive at all.
As the PRO continues through the legislative process, we will be sure to keep you apprised of its current state, and any impactful changes.