Glenn Hamer claims the pending bill known as “Protecting the Right to Organize” will stop gig workers from working in the gig economy. In a recent opinion piece with the San Antonio Express News, Mr. Hamer claims the PRO, which is pending in the U.S. Senate, will make all gig workers traditional employees and not independent contractors. If true, such a result would indeed stop gig employment.
The CEO of the Texas Association of Business points to no authority for his claim. My reading of the bill reveals nothing that applies to independent contractors in general. The bill does have a provision that applies to joint employer situations. Joint employers are those situations in which an employer contracts out some of its hiring to a third party staffing agency. There are valid questions regarding these sorts of independent contractors. Are they true independent contractors, or are they traditional employees masquerading as independent contractors? The joint employer situations are growing, but they are still rare. See the pending bill here.
What the bill does do is over-rule so-called right to work laws in various states, including Texas. These laws allow a worker who is not a union member to not pay union dues. You might call these the “Protect the Freeloader” statutes. The PRO would stop the Protect the Freeloader statutes. The PRO also prevents employers from requiring attendance at anti-union organizing meetings. For more information about the bill, see the NPR report.
The bill amends the National Labor Relations Act. So, even if someone wants to change gig employment, this bill could not do that. The NLRA is one part of U.S. labor laws. It is not the entire labor law across all areas of the economy. The NLRA only applies to union workplaces and workplaces that are considering forming a union. Even if Mr. Hamer or someone wanted to change the law regarding gig workers, this law just physically could not accomplish that sort of a goal.
The PRO is legally impossible of effecting the changes Mr. Hamer assigns to it. We just hope he made this large error accidentally, and not deliberately. See his piece here.