Total labor union dues collection would increase by $9 billion if a pro-union bill in Congress was signed into law, according to an industry report.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would substantially increase union membership and therefore cause higher dues collection, according to the Institute for the American Worker (IAW) report released Friday. The report, which used a conservative estimate, projected annual union dues to increase from $11 billion to $20 billion.
“The PRO Act would substantially pad the coffers of Big Labor bosses and subsidize their pressure and intimidation tactics against elected officials in order to support their out-of-the-mainstream agenda,” Kristen Swearingen, chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), said in a statement responding to the report.
“This power grab by labor organizers comes at the expense of workers, small and local businesses, entrepreneurs and Main Street consumers who would be forced to hand their paychecks over to union bosses,” she continued.
If unions spent the same percentage of dues on political contributions as they did in 2020, their political contributions per two-year election cycle would rise to $3 billion after the PRO Act is passed, according to the IAW report. Unions gave $791 million in political donations in 2020 with nearly 90% of the money going to Democrats.
The House passed the PRO Act and President Joe Biden promised to sign it if delivered to his desk. However, the bill faces continued roadblocks in the Senate.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), a federation of 55 unions and 12.5 million total members, has endorsed the legislation, saying it would allow American workers to exercise their “most fundamental rights on the job.” Several other major unions have also strongly supported the legislation.
The bill would remove workers’ ability to vote against unionization via secret ballot elections, threatens the ability for a workforce to kick a union out, redefines legal definition of independent contractors and forces non-union workers to pay union dues.
Union membership has dipped considerably over the last 40 years, according to the Department of Labor. Roughly 11% of American workers were members of a labor union as of January compared to 20% in 1983.
Biden, meanwhile, included several pro-union policies in his $2 trillion infrastructure plan that he unveiled in March.
“Now it’s about rebuilding America — rebuilding in a way that it has resilience,” Biden said in a speech about his infrastructure plan on Thursday. “And the folks who are going to rebuild it are those folks right over there: unions. They’re going to rebuild it in a way that we’re going to provide good jobs.”
The CDW represents hundreds of trade groups – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Small Business Association, National Association of Manufacturers and National Restaurant Association – and thousands of employers nationwide.
By Thomas Catenacci
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