In mid-January, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer insisted that COVID-19 relief was “a top priority.” It should have been, given more than 19 million Americans were collecting unemployment at the beginning of February and 10 percent of the workforce was either sidelined or had entirely given up on finding a job. Not only has additional aid not been passed, but Democrats are forging ahead with the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a radical bill that expands protections to illegal alien workers while undermining rights of American workers.
It is a high priority for labor union bosses who have been losing members and power for decades. In 2019, just 10.3 percent of the workforce were members of a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is nearly half the rate in 1983. Union bosses believe legal and illegal immigrants, particularly those in construction and service industries, could reap huge rewards for them, and the benefits in the PRO Act are enticing.
Unbelievably, it would allow illegal aliens who are statutorily barred from working in the U.S. to take part in organizing in the workplace and to participate in union elections that impact the rights of American workers. Another controversial components of the proposal would overturn a key Supreme Court ruling that bars illegal aliens from benefitting financially from collective bargaining claims.
The high court found in a 2002 case, Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, the while legal employees are eligible to receive back pay from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when their collective bargaining rights are violated, illegal aliens are not eligible. The PRO Act effectively would reverse the Court’s decision by allowing them to claim back pay.
As FAIR noted last year, this could present a real problem in terms of reaching a settlement. Since many illegal workers are paid off the books, establishing how much back pay is owed would be a decision involving the word of an illegal worker versus the employer who violated immigration law to hire them.
Another concerning part of the bill is that it sets a cap on civil penalties for terminating a union member for due to their union status at $100,000. If an employer is willing to violate federal labor law to hire an illegal alien at cheaper wages, they surely would not expose themselves to massive lawsuit from an illegal alien who simply claims they were fired because of their union status. In essence, the fear of being sued would serve as additional protection for illegal alien employees.
The PRO Act is nothing more than an attempt to resurrect labor unions and increase their power and they will happily exploit illegal alien workers and walk over the rights of hard-working Americans in order to get what they desire.