Ricardo Carlo – President of the Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona
Legislation being pushed by politicians in Washington, D.C., could have a severe impact on Arizona workers and businesses, particularly diverse-owned contractors in the construction industry. If passed by Congress, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—also referred to as H.R. 842/S. 420—would give Big Labor the power to force workers into unions while undermining the ability of local contractors and other businesses to grow and continue supporting local jobs.
The Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona advocates on behalf of all minority, women, small, veteran, and disadvantaged-owned contractors across the state. This legislation threatens the more than 100 local businesses we represent, as well as the hard-working Arizonans they employ. Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema have wisely stayed above the political fray so far by not going along with the vast majority of Senate Democrats to cosponsor this harmful legislation. They should take it one step further and work to oppose its passage.
Among its many offenses, the PRO Act would do away with all Right to Work laws across the country, including here in Arizona where lawmakers deemed these protections so important that they wrote them into our state constitution. Rescinding these rights—without even allowing voters or Arizona lawmakers a say in the matter—would once again open the door to forcing Arizona workers to pay union dues even if they did not vote for and do not want to join a union.
It is clear that this bill is designed to grow the power of unions at all costs. It would lift all limitations on picketing, allowing unions to impose economic injury on third parties that are unaffiliated with an ongoing labor dispute. This exposes businesses up and down the vendor-supplier chain—including contractors and construction firms, as well as consumers—to an increased threat of harassment tactics like picketing and boycotts.
The PRO Act would also completely disrupt workplace relationships that have taken years to develop. For example, it would force employers to divulge employees’ personal information to union officials during organizing drives. That not only undermines the employer-employee relationship, it also exposes workers and their families to confrontations with union reps at their own homes. The PRO Act would also change what it means to be an independent contractor and a joint employer, two things that would drastically reshape workplaces in the construction industry and throughout the economy.
Additionally, the PRO Act would have an outsized impact on Arizona’s women and minority-owned contractors and construction firms. Nationally, 98% of African-American and Hispanic construction companies are non-unionized. There are many reasons for this, including a lack of diversity, wage disparities, and workplace discrimination. The PRO Act enforces a radically pro-union agenda at the expense of women and minority-owned contractors’ ability to maintain a functional workplace.
The only winners under the PRO Act are struggling unions that cannot gain the support of workers on their own. Senators Kelly and Sinema should oppose this legislation and help protect Arizona workers, local minority and women-owned businesses, and our entire economy.