PRO Act Could Reduce Income For 61 Million Americans Through Forced Union Dues

PRO Act Could Reduce Income For 61 Million Americans Through Forced Union Dues
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PRO Act would eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states forcing workers to pay up to $1,000 or more a year in union dues or lose their job if their workplace decides to unionize


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The Cost Of Union Dues

Washington, D.C. – A new report by the Institute for the American Worker (I4AW) shows that the 61 million American workers in right-to-work states could have reduced annual incomes if the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act becomes law and their workplace becomes unionized due to mandatory union dues as a condition of their employment. Union dues typically cost $500 to $1,000 a year, and sometimes higher, which the report says will especially impact low-income workers.

The report also found that unions are less responsive to workers when dues payment is mandatory and that increased union wages do not always offset the cost of union dues.

Key findings:

  • 2.7 million private sector employees in right-to-work states unionized under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 2019 and about one-in-six of these workers currently do not pay union dues.
  • If the PRO Act became law, all 2.7 million union-represented workers in right-to-work states would immediately be forced to pay union dues or lose their jobs.
  • 61 million workers in right-to-work states have jobs in industries covered by the NLRA and could be forced to pay union dues if their workplace unionized under the PRO Act.
  • The 60 million NLRA-covered workers in states without right-to-work laws could never be freed from compulsory union dues if unions organized them, and the PRO Act removes the ability of lawmakers in those states to pass right-to-work laws.
  • Union dues typically cost $500 to $1,000 a year, and sometimes higher.
  • The average union dues in three right-to-work states: Arizona ($845), Georgia ($805), and Virginia ($545).
  • Low-income workers would be especially impacted by having up to $1,000 taken from their paycheck to pay union dues instead of necessities, such as food, housing, clothing, and gas.

In a recent national survey conducted by bipartisan government affairs and research firm, Forbes Tate Partners, seven out of 10 voters are concerned about repealing state right-to-work protections for workers and forcing them to pay union dues or risk losing their job.

The Negative Impact Of The PRO Act

Kristen Swearingen, Chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 600 major business and industry groups representing millions of businesses that employ tens of millions of workers nationwide, said the report illustrates the negative impact the PRO Act would have on workers if passed into law:

“The PRO Act is an anti-worker bill that boosts union coffers at the expense of American workers, small and local businesses, entrepreneurs, and Main Street consumers who would be forced to hand their paychecks over to union bosses,” stated Swearingen. “The gains in union membership would disproportionally impact low-income workers who could use the money spent on mandatory union dues for essentials like food or clothing.”

Swearingen went on to say that the PRO Act would be devastating for workers’ pocketbooks and rights.

“The PRO Act would deprive workers of essential rights and take money out of their paychecks by repealing right-to-work laws in 27 states. Millions of workers would be forced to either pay union dues or lose their jobs, taking away their right to choose whether or not to join a union. If Members of Congress care about small businesses and the working class, they should reject the PRO Act and allow Americans to choose for themselves if they want to join a union and not kick small businesses while their down and trying to recover from the pandemic,” Swearingen concluded.

Click here for more information on the negative impacts of the PRO Act.

About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) represents more than 600 major business organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Small Business Association, National Restaurant Association, National Association of Home Builders, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Grocers Association, International Franchise Association, National Association of Manufacturers, International Council of Shopping Centers and American Trucking Association.

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.

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