A leading Senate Democrat indicated Wednesday he would support his party’s radical change effort Labour Promoting legislation and union membership through historic reforms.
The bill is the most ambitious attempt to reform collective bargaining in generations. So far, Kelly has been one of a handful of liberals Democrats who have not signed in support of it. The senator said his thinking developed after speaking with employers and workers in Arizona.
“I’d like to see some changes,” Kelly said. “I have some concerns with the law, especially things that qualify as an independent contractor. Sometimes employers often use that to their advantage. In other cases, I think people should become independent contractors.” should be able to.”
Democrats don’t currently have enough support to fully pursue the PRO Act, but budget reconciliation could provide an opportunity for one or more of the key pieces to be implemented on a party-line vote. Kelly will support Required for such an effort.
A key measure in the PRO Act that Democrats believe could pass under the reconciliation rules is monetary penalties for employers who illegally bust unions.
under which current lawThe penalties, known as unfair labor practices, are so weak that there is little incentive to follow the law. For example, if an employer is found to have illegally fired an employee for trying to organize a union, the employer is usually required to pay only wages to the worker, with the employee elsewhere. And any wages made have to be paid because that was canned.
Many employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act are only required to post notices in the workplace acknowledging that they are violating the law.
The PRO Act would significantly increase the cost of breaking the law: each unfair labor practice would be accompanied by a civil fine of up to $50,000. Unions hope such a measure will change the organizing landscape by forcing employers not to retaliate against union supporters or bargain in bad faith on union contracts.
there are many democrats believe they can pass under the penalty conciliation rules Because they raise money for the federal government. To comply with the reconciliation, a proposal must significantly affect federal spending and revenue.
Asked about parts of the bill passing through conciliation, Kelly said, “Based on how it’s done, I’m not opposed to it.”
The PRO Act in its entirety will do much more than enhance the penalty for union-busting. It would repeal the “right to work” laws that are now on the books in most states; This will make it easier for the new unionized workforce to secure the first contract; And it will strengthen the right to strike and boycott, among other measures.
One of the most controversial elements is how the law treats collective bargaining rights.independent contractorsFor workers who are not, a provision Kelly said he’s concerned about. Unions have said they want the law passed in its entirety, but Democratic supporters of the PR Act want to set such pieces aside for now. may be interested if it means getting other parts of the bill through conciliation.
Since being elected to the Senate in the 2020 special election, Kelly has sought to cultivate a centrist personality, with other moderate senators taking a firm position on drafting bipartisan infrastructure legislation and eliminating filibuster. refused to take. He faces re-election next year, and several Republican candidates have already lined up to challenge him.
However, Kelly has also held positions in the Senate, which has raised eyebrows for Democrats representing a GOP-heavy state like Arizona, such as her vote earlier this year to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. His move to adopt that effort, as well as the goals of the PR Act, is in stark contrast to Kirsten Cinema, the senior Democratic senator from Arizona who does not face re-election until 2024. Cinema and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) are remaining to pursue Democratic holdout legislation.