WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — There’s a new push in Congress to pass a pro-union bill that advocates say would help workers. But it faces opposition from critics who argue it will hurt businesses and the economy.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) is re-introducing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. “If you want to join a union you ought to be able to. You should not have to suffer unfair labor practices.” Scott said.
The bill would change labor laws to make it easier for workers to form unions. “Businesses won’t be able to underpay their workers, won’t be able to make them work in unsafe working conditions, won’t be able to stiff them on benefits,” Scott added.
Opponents say it would restrict worker freedom and be costly for businesses. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum, sees several issues with the bill. “I think it would have a dramatically negative impact on employment growth and wage growth in the United States,” Holtz-Eakin said.
He believes the legislation would force businesses to make cuts to offset new expenses. “Mandating that someone have benefits doesn’t generate the economic resources to pay those benefits,” Holtz-Eakin said. He also argues it would undercut Right to Work laws in states that allow employees to opt out of unions. “That seems like a dramatic power grab to me and would have real implications for the way our markets operate,” Holtz-Eakin said.
Rep. Scott argues when unions negotiate all workers get the benefits, so they should have to pay union dues. “To pay your fair share of the expenses of getting those benefits I don’t think is unreasonable,” Scott said. He believes strengthening unions will improve the economy overall. “Because workers making more money have more money to spend,” Scott said.
The House has passed this legislation twice before, but so far it hasn’t been able to get through the Senate.