The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act expands workers’ rights on the job: Examples of loopholes in current labor law and how the PRO Act closes them

Deficiency in the National Labor Relations Act Policy reform under the PRO Act
Employers drag out the election process through litigation at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Workers and the NLRB set union election procedures. The employer is not involved.
Employers have free rein to hold captive audience meetings where they deliver anti-union messages without an opportunity for the union to respond. Employers are prohibited from forcing workers to attend captive audience meetings.
Workers wait months and even years to be reinstated or receive back pay after they were unlawfully discharged by their employer for engaging in activities protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB is required to go to court and get an injunction to immediately reinstate workers if the NLRB believes the employer has illegally retaliated against workers for union activity.
Employers who violate workers’ rights under the NLRA face no civil penalties. Employers who commit violations under the NLRA face civil penalties, including individual liability for responsible corporate officials.
Workers are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against their employer for violating their NLRA rights. Workers gain a private right to civil action.
Employers are allowed to force workers to sign arbitration agreements in which they waive the right to collective or class action litigation. Collective and class action waivers are banned.
Employers are allowed to misclassify workers as independent contractors without violating the NLRA. Employers must follow an “ABC” test to determine employee status and employee misclassification is a violation under the NLRA.
Multiple employers are able to dictate workers’ terms of employment while evading collective bargaining with employees. Employers are less able to evade their responsibilities because the PRO Act codifies a strong joint-employer standard (a defined set of criteria ensuring that employers who dictate workers’ terms of employment are considered joint employers and thus responsible for workplace protections).
States may have “Right-to-work” laws that prohibit employers and unions from negotiating contracts that require dues or “fair share” fees from all represented workers. States must allow private employers and unions to enter into “fair share” agreements.
Employers have the ability to drag out the process of bargaining over a first collective bargaining agreement. Employers must follow a process for reaching a first agreement when workers organize, a process that uses mediation and then, if necessary, binding arbitration, to enable the parties to reach a first agreement.
Workers face limits on their fundamental right to strike. Workers gain their full fundamental right to strike because the PRO Act removes prohibitions on secondary strikes, prohibits employers from permanently replacing striking workers, and bans the use of proactive lockouts by employers in which employers lock out employees who want to keep working.

Source: Authors’ analysis of current labor law and the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019, H.R. 2474, 116th Cong. (2019).

View the underlying data on