The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (“PRO Act”) would be the first amendment to the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) since 1974. The PRO Act is big labor’s top legislative priority, has the support of the Biden administration, was passed by the House of Representatives in March, and is now pending in the Senate. If enacted, the PRO Act contains numerous provisions that would be “game changers” for employers, including those with and without unionized employees today. For example, provisions of the PRO Act would:
- Significantly boost union organizing efforts, including by expanding who is a covered “employee” with protected rights under the NLRA, easing the standard for establishing joint employment, granting employees’ the right to use employers’ communication systems for organizing, and prohibiting employers from holding “captive audience” meetings pre-election;
- Shift the balance of power at the bargaining table by imposing time limits on negotiating first contracts before the mandatory submission of open issues to binding interest arbitration, and expanding employees’ protected right to strike to include engaging in intermittent strikes;
- Greatly expand penalties and recoverable economic damages under the NLRA, including by subjecting employers to fines of up to $50,000 and $100,000 per violation, making executives and directors potentially personally liable for the same, and expanding where the NLRB is required to seek mandatory injunctive relief; and
- Significantly increase employers’ litigation exposure outside of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) proceedings by prohibiting enforcement of employee class and collective action waivers, and granting employees a private right of action where the NLRB does not issue a complaint, including the ability to recover private attorneys’ fees.
Join Epstein Becker Green attorneys Michael Ferrell and Steven Swirsky, plus Ed Richards of Tenet Healthcare and David McNitt from National Health Advisors, for a webinar that discusses the ramifications of the PRO Act’s various provisions, as well as the prospects for the legislation in the Senate and the possibility of partial implementation through administrative agency action.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Julie Choudhury.