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By Michael J. Lotito and Glenn Spencer
Sept. 12, 2021 4:24 pm ET
The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO, is a radical piece of legislation that would rewrite our nation’s labor laws in at least 51 different ways. Passed by the House earlier this year, the bill has 47 co-sponsors in the Senate, all Democrats. Unions and their allies aren’t waiting for more support. Instead, they are determined to change the National Labor Relations Act by inserting the penalty provisions of the PRO Act into the $3.5 trillion budget bill.
Congress passed the NLRA in 1935, forming the core of U.S. labor law. Congress deliberately avoided punitive measures, such as civil penalties, against either labor or management. In Republic Steel v. NLRB, the Supreme Court held in 1940 that Congress intended the act to be a remedial law focused on making employees whole, not a punitive one designed to penalize employers should they (knowingly or unknowingly) violate it.
Amending the NLRA to include civil penalties would fundamentally overturn 85 years of precedent. For employers, fines could range from $50,000 to $100,000 for each charge of unfair labor practices. That’s over and above any actual injuries claimed by workers or unions.