Armed with economic metrics from a recent national study, Scott thoroughly explains some of the dangers of the PRO Act
Yesterday, two significant events took place for the Biden Administration on the issue of Labor:
- Secretary of Labor nominee Marty Walsh confirmation hearing took place before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for 2 1/2 hours
- Congressional Democratic leaders reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act for the 117th Congress
Both events came to a head yesterday morning when Senator Tim Scott (R, SC) questioned Walsh during the confirmation hearing. Scott went after the PRO Act head on, primarily on the component of the stripping of right-to-work laws for the 28 states which have implemented them (Missouri was the latest to implement a right-to-work law).
Here is all Senator Scott said to Walsh, who’s currently the mayor of Boston:
“Thank you for your willingness to serve in the Department of Labor as the Secretary. I know that you and I will find some common ground, perhaps on work force development. There are other areas we will have passionate disagreements. And you’ve already stated your support for the PRO Act and the Recovery Plan.
“I come from a state like 27 others that have right-to-work laws. South Carolina became a right-to-work state in 1954. We have thousands upon thousands of employees who are members of unions.
“It is their right. In South Carolina we protect their right to unionize.
“What I am very concerned about with the PRO Act is overnight those 27 states lose their ability to be right-to-work states. That is devastating for the economic future of this nation, devastating for those employees within those states, and frankly a bad decision and a poor start for this Administration.
“Especially when you think about the fact that from 2001 to 2016, right-to-work states saw somewhere around 27% of growth of jobs in their states and I believe it was somewhere near a 10 point increase in personal income in those same states during the same time period. And at the same time, we were able to drive unemployment down precipitously.
“So if you can have more jobs, making more money, with lower unemployment, that sounds like a recipe for this nation.
“Unfortunately, the PRO Act literally, overnight, squashes the dreams of millions of people living in those 27 states.
“I’m a guy who believes we can continue on the path of high-tech manufacturing. That’s what South Carolina has become a champion of. Five major tire companies all call their homes in South Carolina. BMW, Volvo, Mercedes, Boeing all call their homes in South Carolina.
“And that story is throughout the nation.
“So when we think about stopping the right of states to be right-to-work, when we think about having contracts that force workers to pay union dues to get a job, when we think about undermining secret ballot elections and restoring the Browning-Ferris standard for employers, costing a franchising sector $33 billion a year.
“Hundreds of thousands of jobs, the PRO Act is a place where you and I will have strong passionate disagreements.
“I ask you to make sure that with a 50-50 Senate, nearly a 50%-50% House that you agree to talk with both sides before moving forward and undermining the rights of those states as well.
“I’d love for you to change your mind on the PRO Act but I don’t think you will. I hope that you will come to both sides and have a conversation about how to move forward with something that will be devastating to states like my home state of South Carolina.
“Is that something you can commit to?”Senator Tim Scott addressing Labor Secretary nominee Marty Walsh, 2/4/21
Walsh responded that he would work in collaboration with members of both parties in both the House and the Senate.
According to Boston.com, the economic metrics cited by Scott were from a 2018 study by NERA Economic Consulting.
The full study can be viewed here.
More information on reaction to the PRO Act’s reintroduction, including the controversial use of the ABC test to classify workers, will be forthcoming.