Senator Mike Braun of Indiana is opposed to the PRO Act, at least in its current form, because it’s too risky for small businesses, including independent contractors.
Braun explained his position during a July 22 HELP committee hearing.
PRO Union But Opposed to PRO Act
The PRO Act is pitched as a bill aiming to protect workers most notably by expanding access to unions.
To do so, the bill proposes changes such as eliminating right-to-work statutes and changing how employees are defined.
Braun is “worried” the PRO Act is a one-size-fits-all measure that could place small business “in peril.”
Anything that does that is “a misguided effort from the top down, and in my opinion is not needed,” he told fellow senators.
Speaking from Experience
Braun made it clear that he’s qualified to take a strong position on the PRO Act.
“Of anyone in the US Senate, I think I’m most recently off the pavement of actually living through these issues…,” he said.
Braun said he comes from main street and chose not to go to Wall Street. Instead, he went back to his hometown. He started a small business, and his wife has also run a small business for over 40 years.
Workers should be treated well and have the right to organize. But, according to Braun, Congress shouldn’t make moves to protect workers at the expense of small businesses.
You Need Healthy Small Businesses To Have Unions
If the PRO Act truly aims to build thriving unions, then you’re going to need thriving small business because you can’t have one without the other, Braun explained.
Independent contractors will become employees
One group of small businesses that are particularly at risk are independent contractors.
Many freelancers are opposed the PRO Act as its written because it contains the ABC test, which is an outdated way to determine who should be classified as an employee.
Freelancers are worried having the ABC test in the PRO Act will hurt or wipe out their business. And, in some cases, they’re afraid they’ll only be able to work with certain clients if those companies hire them as employees.
Braun also sees the threat.
Congress has a model for policy that’s bad for small business. They just need to look at California.
It’s freelance law, known as AB 5, included the ABC test, and it has been devastating for freelancers.
California operates from the top down like the federal government, and that’s the reason a lot of businesses reconsider doing business in that state or make the decision with a second thought, said Braun.
For more info on the Biden administration’s PRO Act plans and freelancers’ concerns, check this KnowGood Podcast episode…
Helping Workers? Or Helping Unions?
The PRO Act is supposed to be about choice and about protecting workers. But Braun, like many freelancers and other small business owners, view it as government trying to aid deep-pocket unions.
Unlikely To Pass And It Shouldn’t
During the hearing, Braun asked to add letters to record showing over 280 groups who represent small business and are opposed to the PRO Act.
Chances are the PRO Act won’t pass, and hopefully it doesn’t because it needs a lot of refinement. As it stands, the bill is counterproductive, explained Braun.
Also Check Out: Chuck Schumer: Do Freelancers Have An Ally In Congress?